Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
The irony of the title becomes apparent at the story's end in this lively Russian comedy that follows the daily lives of four young people living in a suburban Moscow hostel in 1950 when Stalin's regime was at its peak of power. The foursome are all attending the Art Institute and spend their free-time, of which they seem to have plenty, playing games. All of them are terribly poor, but they treat this as a kind of game, spending their energy involving themselves in affairs rather than fretting about the things they lack. They also enjoy playing practical jokes, some of them quite nasty, upon one another. Among their many games is one in which a student uses a secret radio to pretend he is "the Voice of America." In another scene, a student gets on the air and announces a new socialist welfare plan. This leads the authorities to question another student who in terror bursts into hysterical tears. Eventually, Stalin's secret police capture each of the youths and have them cruelly executed. In the final scene though, the four are seen running free upon the streets of Moscow.
youth, poverty, prank, student, execution, oppression