Plum Russia: Who wants to work, alcoholics, parasites, hooligans?

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Another full house for the year’s final film-and-food evening, this time hosted by DIA’s Russian delegation. An otherwise wintery Bauhausstraße was enlivened by the warmth of glowing coals and scent of roasting pork, thanks to the hardy chefs who carried barbeque season into mid-December. Inside the Student Union, further delicacies from around Russia – pirozhkis, stuffed vegetables, pancakes with condensed milk, and vodka, among others – made for an ample, warming apéro.

It was standing room only as the crowd poured from the lounge to the screening room. In accordance with the Plum theme, a classic of national cinema was chosen for an audience which has, by now, come prepared for anything. Plum 2014 has oscillated from the light and diverting to the profound and thought-provoking. Last week, Plum Serbia presented the latter: an insightful, conscientious film about life in the Balkans today. Plum Russia opted for lighter fare; a classic slapstick comedy from the mid-1960s called “Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures”. This proved a wise choice, providing as it did a welcome counterpoint to the formidable workload which accompanies the end of term.

Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures was full of the light-hearted calamity of Charlie Chaplin and the comic animosity of Tom and Jerry. The three acts succeeded in bringing the entire audience to laughter; the Russian-speakers noticeably a beat ahead of the viewers following the subtitles. Operation Y was the hit movie of 1965 and remains one of the highest grossing Russian films to date. It is interesting to consider how rarely comedies have been successfully exported, but the group of thirty nationalities enjoying the humour in a Dessau cinema half a century later attests to how Operation Y has somehow tapped into a universal brand of wit.

Against the backdrop of plummeting temperatures, the final Plum of the season ensured that the students of DIA disperse in soaring spirits for their Christmas break. Plum returns in January.

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