15 Eastern European Cult Classic Films You Should Know About

420px-Irony_of_Fate_poster The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (Russian: Ironiya sudby, ili S lyogkim parom!), dir. Eldar Ryazanov (1976)

One of the most successful Soviet television productions ever (it is still broadcast every New Year’s Eve in Russia), The Irony of Fate is both a screwball romantic comedy and a commentary on the soulless uniformity of the Brezhnev-era urban architecture. The film opens with an animation in which an architect goes to get his ornate building plans approved by faceless politicians. Before long, the architect’s original plans are destroyed and he’s forced to build bland, identical structures. The movie then centers around Muskovite Zhenya Lukashin (played by Andrei Myagkov), who, due to some drunken mishaps, ends up in Leningrad, but doesn’t realize he’s in a new city because the architecture looks exactly the same as everything in Moscow — down to “his” street name, building, and even “his” apartment. When the real tenant returns, love (slowly) blossoms.