Vesna na Zarechnoi ulitse (Springtime on Zarechnaia Street). 1956. USSR. Directed by Marlen Khutsiev, Feliks Mironer. Screenplay by Mironer. With Nina Ivanova, Nikolai Rybnikov, Vladimir Gulyaev. In Russian; English subtitles. 96 min.
Springtime was a sleeper hit, seen by more than 30 million Soviets on its release. A sparkling example of Thaw cinema, it marked a fresh and contemporary departure from formulaic Stalinist cinema. Against the gray banality of the film’s industrial setting, Khutsiev and Mironer dwell on the quotidian pleasures of drink, dance, song, neighborly banter, and youthful flirtation. Cultural differences form the comical underpinning to a budding romance between a night-school teacher, newly arrived from the big city, and a brash steelworker who toils at the furnaces by day while attempting to write poetry at night.