Katja and I watched вокзал для двоих (Railway Station for Two) on Sunday night, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It isn't any heavy weight movie, but none the less was quite charming. I hadn't heard much about it before viewing - if you haven't yet seen it, I would say it is worth watching.
The story is about Platon Ryabinin (Oleg Basilashvili), a Moscow pianist in his late 40s. He is traveling by train and at a short railway station stop, he attempts to get something to eat. It is a very hurried crowd who run to and from the train, hoping to eat before its depature. Platon finds the meal unacceptable, doesn't eat and tries to leave the restaurant without paying. Vera (Lyudmila Gurchenko), the waitress, stops him and the two begin to argue about payment. She eventually calls the police to extract the 1 ruble, 20 kopek cost of the meal. Meanwhile, we see Platon's train leaving in the background.
From this point, Vera and Platon keep finding each other around the railway station, and slowly we learn about Platon's situation and fate. Slowly the find themselves forgiving the prior argument and even feeling for each other.
Mixed into this is a youngish Nikita Mikhalkov as Andrei, a train conductor-hoodlum-businessman and Vera's boyfriend. As a side note, Mikhalkov always seems to play the same character or personality in his films - I've yet to see a broad range or expression or language from him. His role here is rather small.
I won't reveal too much regarding the ending, only that it provides a mixture of romance and dark comedy that only a Russian film could create. This film was released in 1982 and set in that time.
One of the things that Katja and I joked about during the film was "Hey, don't these people know they are OPPRESSED?!" There are scenes of people dancing and playing, talking back to police, bargaining at local markets, and other aspects of a rather normal life. Even the Siberian prison at the end has a sort of human kindness aspect.
Another interesting aspect of the movie is that Platon's situation seems to be rather accepted by him and everyone involved. This lends it a certain tragic nature. While this story could be told in the USA, it would certainly involve a great many more lawyers and might have had a much better outcome for Platon.
I'll leave the details of any discussion regarding the accuracy of that period as portrayed in the film to those who lived within Russia at that time.