A story about a young woman, Vera, who is somebody, living the life of a troubled teenager in the time right before the end of the Soviet Union. She lives in a very small Russian apartment with her mother and father, however being this close to each other makes the living get rough. Their daily life is plagued with massive amounts of alcohol (mainly vodka) and when she tries to escape her home life, she meets up with a boyfriend, Sergei who then moves into her already small apartment after sleeping with her. Every day little Vera has to go through hell just to get by, which even involves her going against her own morals after her father has done something extremely wrong.
Director Vasili Pichul’s romantic social drama was a milestone film for the Soviet Union – both permissive and ground-breaking. It was the first film from Russia with a Soviet actress who appeared nude and had a fairly explicit sex scene. The box-office smash hit was also one of the very first frank, realistic and honest films about the inadequacies of daily Soviet life – few jobs, bleak urban pollution, disillusionment, hopelessness, and pessimism.
The pretty Soviet star Natalya Negoda appeared in Playboy Magazine (in the May 1989 issue) to promote the actress and film in an article titled “That Glasnost Girl.” The cover tauted: “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: The Soviets’ First Sex Star Natalya Negoda.”
It told the coming-of-age tale of a troubled, unloved, restless, non-conformist and rebellious teenager named Vera (Natalya Negoda), sporting a short punk hairstyle of blonde streaked locks. She was in training after high school to work for the telephone company.
The title character had major difficulties within her dysfunctional, working-class family, while living in a cramped 3-room apartment with her parents in the bleak provincial industrial city of Zhdanov:
Kolya (Yuri Nazarov), drunken and mostly-unemployed, abusive father
Rita (Lyudmila Zajtseva), Vera’s dim-witted, demanding and critical mother, worker in a sewing factory
Victor (Aleksandr Negreba), her brother, a doctor who lived in Moscow
All that Vera had to look forward to was her friends, rock ‘n’ roll music, and then a boyfriend – womanizing, egocentric university student Sergei (Andrei Sokolov). After they made love, and Sergei moved into Vera’s apartment with her parents and she became his fiancee-wife, the belligerent father disapproved, called Vera a slut (for claiming she was pregnant), and stabbed his son-in-law in a knife fight (causing Sergei’s long hospitalization) – and Vera became despondent and attempted suicide with a drug overdose washed down with vodka (her doctor brother saved her). Part of Vera’s problems arose when she learned that she was not a “wanted” child – her father wanted her as an excuse to get a larger apartment.
She was faced with the agonizing decision of claiming her father acted in self-defense, or supporting her detached and arrogant fiancee and possibly send her father to jail. The film ended on a downbeat note – the collapse and supposed death of Kolya in the apartment’s kitchen.
Director: Vasili Pichul