The Heart of the World: Masterpieces of Soviet Silent Cinema

Bed and Sofa

Tretya meshchanskaya

Abram RoomUSSR86 minutes192718AB&WSilent

Oct 7
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"At once one of the most brilliant and the most endearing of Soviet silent classics" (David Robinson), Bed and Sofa was banned in both the US and Europe because of its frank treatment of such subjects as abortion, poverty, and polygamy. The Moscow housing shortage that was also broached in The Girl with the Hat Box leads to an amorous triangle between a stonemason working on the Bolshoi Theatre, his bored, restless wife, and the hubby's old friend, who ends up sleeping on the couple's sofa. The capricious wife begins sleeping with both men, moving from bed to sofa and back again (a scenario that was rumoured to be based on the marital arrangements of a famous contemporary poet); when she finds herself pregnant, no one knows which one is the father. Naturalistic and brilliantly composed and acted, the film was denigrated by Soviet cinema magazines currying favour with the authorities, and was forced to take a new title for its initial release: Ménage à trios.

Digital restoration courtesy of MK2 and Lobster Films.