USSR, 1992, 75 minutes, Colour.
Inna Churikova, Svetlana Ryakova.
Directed by Vyachesalav Kristofovich.
Adam's Rib is a brief Russian film, a portrait of four women and three different generations. While the credits sequences have flashbacks to the history of Nina, the action is in the present with the focus on middle-aged Nina, her paralysed mother, her two daughters from different marriages. She is attracted towards a middle-aged man who becomes her suitor - and everyone meets at the grandmother's birthday, including her two former husbands. The film is comic as well as serious, farcical in many ways yet down to earth. The film is well acted, the women bringing their characters to life. The film is of interest in terms of Russian cinema after the demise of the Soviet Union as well as writing and character drawing in the terms of Russian theatre and literature.
1. Interesting and entertaining portrait of women? The Russian perspective?
2. The city locations, the apartments, the streets? The confined world of the women? The gallery and the history of the Soviet Union and of Russia? The film in the present, the traditions of the past? The musical score?
3. The title, the focus on women and their place in society?
4. The credits sequences and the bleached flashbacks, Nina and her relationships? Marriage and affairs? Her child? The transition to the present and our focus on Nina?
5. Nina, her age, her past marriages? Her daughters? Her bedridden mother? The small apartment and coping? The daily routines of the house, meals, clothes? Her coping with her daughters' antagonisms? Her mother needing to be fed, taking her pot away etc? Her loving concern for her mother? Her different attitudes towards the daughters? Her liking of her older daughter, her being critical of the younger daughter? Her concern about their future? Seeing her at work, guiding the tourists? The official and his friendship, walking home together, the promise of seeing him again? His coming as a guest? The affair? The background of her marriages? Her having to make decisions? The questions of her daughters, coping with her mother? The preparation for the birthday celebration? The two husbands coming, their attitudes towards her, towards their daughters? The news of Nastya and her pregnancy? The change in her mother - and her singing and talking? A portrait of a middle-aged woman?
6. The contrast between the two daughters? Their different backgrounds and fathers? The older sister and her style, being critical of her younger sister? The younger one playing tricks and hiding her sister's possessions? Work in the house, looking after the grandmother? Her affair, the married man, his car, the planning of the vacation? The future of the relationship? Her love for her mother? The news of her sister's pregnancy, her support?
7. Nastya as the younger daughter, imposed on in the house, her sullen reactions? Her studies? Her job? Her boyfriend and their interactions? Being pregnant? In the house, with her grandmother? With her father, the visit for the party? The news of her pregnancy and the variety of reactions? Her listening to each of them, her wanting to have the child? Her youthfulness, her future?
8. The grandmother, lying in the house, looked after by the women? Ringing the bell, seeking attention? Her paralysis? The party, the accident and her head being struck - and the paralysis gone and her singing?
9. The portrait of the men: the timid accountant, his attentions to Nina, making himself known, walking home with her, the visits to the house, the affair? The contrast with the two husbands, their attitudes towards their daughters? The one man drinking in reaction to his daughter's pregnancy, the other prepared to look after both daughters?
10. A glimpse of ordinary life in Russia, characters, interactions, problems? Comic and serious?