Starshy Syn (1975)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, Psychological Drama, Comedy of Manners  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - USSR  |  
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This television film is based on the work of Alexander Vampilov, a Russian playwright whose death by accidental drowning in 1972 robbed the world of a gifted writer. His play The Older Son, is interpreted and directed by Vitali Melnikov. Melnikov's own cinematic skills successfully capitalize on the original play. The heart-warming human comedy begins in an unlikely time and place: a cold week-end evening in Siberia when two young men - a student and his friend - have just left their girlfriends too late to catch the last train to the town where they live. They try to find a place to spend the night, but no one trusts their demeanor. In desperation, they are able to get a place by using one blatant lie. They convince a father and his son and daughter that the student is really a "long-lost son" come home at last. They do such a good job that the story is believed and celebrations begin. Soon things take a turn for the worse, as the elderly father begins to appreciate his new-found son over his own two children. His daughter has an unsatisfactory boyfriend, and his son is chasing after an older woman - not making life easier for the father. He confides his lost ambitions of a musical career to his "lost" son, and the young student finds it harder and harder to leave quickly as he had planned. As the family situations develop over the week-end, they give ample room for several lively pokes at holes in the socialism of the day. Starshy Syn won a Special Mention for Cinematography at the 1981 Venice film festival.

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Keywords

assumed-identity, daughter, deception, father, son, student