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Film / School Waltz

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School Waltz (Shkolnyy vals) is a 1979 film from the Soviet Union, directed by Pavel Lyubimov.

Zosya (a Polish nickname for Sophie) (Elena Tsyplakova) is a Russian student at whatever is the Russian equivalent of high school. She is very much in love with boyishly handsome Gosha (a nickname for Georgy), who has ambitions to be a volcanologist. Another student at the school, Dina, is also sweet on Gosha, but is making no headway.

Gosha for his part makes quite a bit of headway with Zosya, when she sneaks him into her family's apartment for sex, sometime right after graduation. Naturally, a little bit later Zosya realizes that she is pregnant. And while all this is happening, Zosya's life is further complicated when her father leaves her unfaithful mother.



  • Awful Wedded Life: Gosha and Dina's brief marriage is a loveless disaster. For that matter, the marriage of Zosya's parents unravels.
  • Beach Episode: The whole high school gang is having a pleasant afternoon on a beach by a lake when Zosya drops the bomb on Gosha.
  • Book-Ends: The home movie of the kids in school that was being filmed at the beginning of the film, right before graduation, is shown again at a one-year reunion at the end.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Dina is smoking during more than one emotional moment as she realizes that her new marriage to Gosha is already a failure.
  • Dances and Balls: The titular "school waltz" is a graduation dance. Zosya tells Gosha there that they are done.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Abortions in the Soviet Union lacked the social stigma that they have in some quarters of the United States, and Zosya's mother urges her to get one and not be burdened with a child. Zosya bolts from the clinic anyway.
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  • Gray Rain of Depression: A fitting mood for a visit to an abortion clinic.
  • Hope Spot: Zosya's parents have come to the outside of her maternity hospital. From her window she throws them a message: "You look good together." They walk away down the long path to the street—and then go separate directions.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: The Mendelssohn part (the recessional) is played repeatedly throughout Gosha and Dina's wedding, but in a vaguely melancholy style which fits the mood.
  • Love Triangle: Zosya, Gosha, and Dina, with an unhappy ending.
  • New Year Has Come: The Soviet/Russian Christmas, complete with tree and ornaments. Gosha walking out of the apartment again on New Year's Eve is enough to finally convince Dina that their marriage is a failure.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: As near as one can tell from the film, Gosha and Zosya only have sex once, but she gets knocked up.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The film cuts away as Gosha gets into bed with Zosya.


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