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Film / Wartime Romance

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Wartime Romance (Военно-полевой роман, literally translated as "Military Field Romance") is a 1983 film from the Soviet Union, directed by Pyotr Todorovsky.

Alexander aka "Sasha" is a humble private in the Red Army in 1944. The major of his regiment has taken as a lover (the "field wife" was quite common in the wartime Red Army) a gorgeous female soldier named Luba. Sasha loves Luba from afar, defending her against the ribald jokes of the other soldiers in the regiment. The night before an attack on the Germans, Sasha lingers outside the major's office dugout to greet Luba. He tells her that he's probably going to die tomorrow, that he loves her, and that he hopes she makes the major happy.

Skip forward six years to 1950. Not only did Sasha survive that attack, he survived the whole war. In peacetime he's gotten married to a woman named Vera and gotten a job as a projectionist in a movie theater. One day when walking about in the streets of the city (Moscow? Leningrad?), he sees a ragged-looking woman selling pirozhkis on the street, accompanied by a little girl. It turns out that the ragged, worn-out woman is none other than Luba, and the little girl is Masha, her daughter by the major, who was killed in the war. All Sasha's old feelings toward Luba come rushing back, and he starts spending a lot of time with Luba, getting her cleaned up and buying her nice clothes and generally returning her to the dazzling beauty she was in 1944. His wife Vera, who is much plainer than Luba but who is deeply in love with her husband, tries to be understanding while dealing with her own jealousy and fear.



  • Bittersweet Ending: Luba marries Dubrovsky, the housing bureaucrat. She's found security at least, although she obviously still harbors feelings of some sort for Sasha. Sasha doesn't get the woman of his dreams, but he does return to his loyal and loving wife.
  • Call-Back: The references to a mournful Russian ballad about love in the spring of 1941 before the war started. The song is playing on the major's phonograph when he meets his lover Luba, with Sasha the soldier singing along outside. Luba's little daughter Masha sings the song in bed. And at the end the song is playing on the record player at Dubrovsky's house, while newlyweds Luba and Dubrovsky welcome their guests, and Sasha lingers outside like he lingered outside the major's dugout six years prior.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Vera indulges in this sometimes. When Luba comes calling, Vera invites her in, saying "Don't be afraid. For many years there have been no cases of cannibalism." (This is a reference to the for-real cannibalism that took place in Leningrad during the terrible siege.)
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  • Distant Prologue: After the opening scenes at the front against the Germans in 1944, the bulk of the story takes place in 1950.
  • Fingerless Gloves: One mark of Luba's poverty are the fingerless woolen gloves she wears while hawking pirozhkis on the street during the cold Russian winter.
  • Happy Ending: Discussed Trope when Luba comes to Sasha's projection booth, watches a movie, and notes "There's always a happy ending in the films."
  • Letting Her Hair Down: The moment when Sasha undoes Luba's humble peasant bun and lets her long, flaxen hair cascade down, is both a moment of blossoming for Luba and a moment of emotional bonding for the two of them.
  • Love Triangle: Between Sasha, his plain but deeply loyal wife Vera, and his gorgeous dream girl, Luba.
  • New Year Has Come: The biggest holiday on the Russian calendar. Sasha is late to come home to his wife because he's spending time with Luba, leading Vera to track the two of them down, whereupon the three of them celebrate the new year together.
  • No Antagonist: There are no bad guys. Sasha is a generally decent fellow overcome with a rush of emotions dating back to the war. Vera loves her husband and wants to keep him. Luba for her part didn't ask for some random guy whom she barely remembers to start paying attention to her and taking her out on dates. While Luba makes some threats to Vera about how she'll take Sasha away, and she probably could take Sasha away if she wanted, eventually she and Vera become friends and Luba marries someone else.
  • Shout-Out: What's playing in Sasha's movie theater? City Lights.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: The Time Skip reveals that Luba was pregnant when her major was killed in combat.
  • You're Cute When You're Angry: So says Dubrovsky, the formerly Obstructive Bureaucrat, when Luba is in his office again bawling him out about her housing difficulties. They eventually get married.


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