Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

Vladimir Menshov (1979)

Moscow of the late ’50s is the initial setting for this movie of three young girls out for love – the upwardly mobile Lyuda (Irina Muravyova), the secure Tonya (Raisa Ryazanova) and the head-over-heels Katya (Vera Alentova). The film re-engages the trio 20 years later, focusing on their varied life changes.

John Bush for

Москва пятидесятых годов. Три молодые провинциалки приезжают в Москву в поисках того, что ищут люди во всех столицах мира — любви, счастья и достатка. Их судьбы складываются именно так, как предполагает характер каждой из девушек.


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Despite a failed first attempt, ambitious Katerina is determined to enter university and is spending her evenings after work at a factory studying. Carefree Lyudmila sees life in Moscow as a big lottery. She wants everything straightaway: to meet a good-looking and well-off man with a flat in Moscow. Modest Antonia, meanwhile, works as a painter at a construction site and at the very start of the film marries a fellow worker.

Gradually, Katerina’s story becomes the film’s central plot strand. After a brief affair with a high-flying film student, she becomes pregnant and is lectured by his formidable and domineering mother about the sorry fate that awaits single mothers in Soviet society. Despite all the difficulties she has to go through; Katerina forges a spectacular career and in her early 40s finds her true love.

The topic of single motherhood caused a lot of controversy at the time – officials in the Soviet film industry did not want to see it promoted on screen. But the film’s astonishing box-office success, followed by the Oscar, made them change their minds about this “soppy melodrama not worthy of the Soviet woman.”

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