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I heard about this movie from a friend, so I don't have exact details.

The story is that a man from a Soviet Russian town goes to work by train in the morning, and returns in the evening. He falls asleep on the train ride home and wakes up apparently in his town, walks to apparently his block, his building, his floor, his apartment, unlocks his door with his key, but the family inside is not his. The twist is: he woke up in the next town over and all the towns are so much cookie-cutter exactly the same that even his key opened the door.

As far as I can tell from the context it is a 70s or early 80s movie. In my opinion it falls under fantasy (not so much SF) and it definitely seems like a commentary on the uniformity of Soviet era towns, planned economy, and banality of modern life under such circumstances. It is a wonder how that seemingly negative context was allowed in those times (unless I'm mistaken about the timeframe and this movie is from the 90s).

Can you help identifying the movie and even better a streaming link to the movie?

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  • 3
    Was this distinctly fantasy or sci-fi, or was this just a commentary on the uniformity (and conformity) of Soviet housing?
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 2 at 16:38
  • 8
    I’m voting to close this question because it's not about a work of science fiction or fantasy.
    – DavidW
    May 2 at 17:49
  • 7
    I disagree. It sounds fantastic enough to count. Leave open for the moment.
    – Pete
    May 2 at 18:19
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    @Pete How so? Someone gets drunk, gets on a wrong flight and ends up in a different city (realistic). The apartment building ends up having the same layout and design (realistic for Soviet Russia). The locks end up being duplicated as well (probably unrealistic, but less so than "police hacker expands 240p video by 1000% to see a license plate").
    – Adamant
    May 4 at 3:58
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    For that matter, even the idea of lock reuse is not so unrealistic. This person even seems to find it credible that a lock would open another apartment in the Soviet Union! I am not convinced that there is anything even lightly science-fictional or fantastical about this question, just a series of comedic contrived coincidences.
    – Adamant
    May 4 at 4:01

1 Answer 1

38

Could be The Irony of Fate

MC flies from Moscow to Leningrad by airplane (not by train).

The key subplot is the drab uniformity of Brezhnev-era public architecture. This setting is explained in a humorous animated prologue, in which architects are overruled by politicians and red tape (director and animator - Vitaly Peskov). As a result, the identical, functional but unimaginative multistory apartment buildings found their way into every city, town, and suburb across the Soviet Union.

Zhenya spends the entire flight sleeping on the shoulder of his annoyed seatmate (Eldar Ryazanov in a brief comedic cameo appearance). The seatmate helps Zhenya get off the plane in Leningrad. Zhenya wakes up in the Leningrad airport, believing he is still in Moscow. He stumbles into a taxi and, still quite drunk, gives the driver his address. It turns out that in Leningrad there is an identical address that belongs to an apartment buildings of a design identical to Zhenya's building in Moscow. He takes the elevator to "his" apartment and, surprisingly, the key fits in the door (as alluded to in the introductory narration, "...building standard apartments with standard locks"). Inside, even the furniture is nearly identical to that of Zhenya's apartment, but Zhenya is too drunk to notice any minor differences.

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    This bares an uncanny resemblance to the story my friend recounted to me. It is weird if his recollection of the movie warped the plot from plane to train. But the key features are there: same street, building that looks the same, same apartment, same key(!), even similar furniture. I woud say plausible answer.
    – HappySharp
    May 2 at 17:06
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    I remember the story from my childhood. It apparently has been retold so many times in the Eastern Bloc, some people might even have forgotten that the origin was a specific movie. What stuck in the peoples mind was the relatable idea of identical street names, city layout, slab constructions, and even little variance in furniture and consumer products. It’s not surprising that some people forgot whether the travel was by train or by plane, as that was not as important to this idea.
    – Holger
    May 3 at 8:01
  • Here is a song from the film.
    – TonyK
    May 3 at 10:02
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    @Holger also, it is a "tradition" to watch it once every New Year. May 3 at 10:46

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