Abram Room’s masterpiece is a realistic, humorous evocation of everyday life in 1920s Moscow and a frank, unsentimental exploration of relationships between men and women.
“This film is one of the finest of Soviet silent films, and one that gives perhaps the most vivid picture of the life of the period.”
Julian Graffy, Bed and Sofa: The Film Companion, 2001
When Kolia (Nikolai Batalov) invites his old friend Volodia (Vladimir Fogel) to move into the cramped one-room basement flat he shares with his wife Liuda (Ludmilla Semyonova), he unwittingly creates a complex and ultimately unsustainable ménage à trois through which Abram Room explores contemporary topics (love, marriage, the family and sexual morality) which Soviet cinema had previously eschewed.
Refusing to suggest simple ideological solutions to the complicated personal problems his protagonists encounter, Room wanted viewers to think for themselves. The suggestive set design, the camera’s adoption of the protagonists’ perspectives and the actors’ subtle, natural performances all contribute to the film’s power and charm.
Room’s adaptation of Iurii Olesha’s story, A Stern Young Man (1936), was banned. For a modern take on Bed and Sofa, see Petr Todorovskii’s Ménage à trois (1998).