Slapstick 2019

Happiness 12A

Happiness (1934)
0117 927 5100

Book online

Date Times
Thu 17 Jan 2019 20:45 Intro
Ticket prices: £10.00 full / £8.00 concessions / £5.00 aged 29 or under

In this Russian comedy-drama a hapless loser (with the surname of Loser) undergoes a series of misadventures with avaricious clergy, a tired horse, and a stolen granary (among other things) on his road toward collectivised happiness.

Khmyr is a poor, idle peasant who dreams of becoming a tsar, but who mostly enjoys eating his fill of pork and doing nothing (his idea of happiness). So when his industrious wife Anna, who found real happiness on a collective farm after the Russian revolution, sends Khmyr out in search of happiness, he unfortunately finds his quest is hampered by priests, officials and other freeloaders along the way.

One of the last Soviet silent movies, this rare and often hilarious example of socialist slapstick is grounded in the eccentricities of Russian folk culture. (The film was actually banned in Russia for 40 years because of its anti-Bolshevik humour!) Director Aleksandr Medvedkin's infectiously happy oddity emerged surprisingly from a slough of social-realist orthodoxy, and prompted none other than Sergei Eisenstein to the admiring tribute: 'Today I saw how a Bolshevik laughs.'

Screened with the original synchronised score.