Sad Russian Stories
The novel, Anna Karenina, begins with the sentence, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” And while we all know that happy Russian families exist, you’d be hardpressed to find one in a popular novel or film.
Social commentators have long observed that, the colder the climate, the more melancholy the populace. Benedetto’s family, hailing from the warm Mediterranean, tends to be more happy-go-lucky than my serious-minded family arriving from Russia’s chilly climes.
Let’s just put it this way: a long and dreary winter can negatively impact a society. Look at the emotional well-being of those living in very cold lands and it’s not a pretty picture. We’re generalizing here, of course.
When Benedetto and I first married, back in the era before glasnost and perestroika, I took him to see several Russian-Soviet films. Perhaps I wanted him to know that I was the exception to the rule, a bubbly and fun person coming from a dramatic and depressing background, lol. We saw such gems as “Borsch and Tears”, which about sums up things.
Fast-forward to now. Benedetto is outnumbered in our Russian-Italian-American family where our four Russian teens have tilted the scales in my direction and given us new opportunities to view even more depressing films.
Our boys have been working week after week, year after year, on the Russian classic, “Beliy Bim, Chornoye Ukho”, with their tutor. This story of a white dog with black ears can tug on the heartstrings of even the hardest rock of a person.
The dog journeys from one mishap to another, separated from the man who first saves him and takes him in. We learn things about each person whom Bim (pronounced “Beam” in Russian) encounters and why they mistreat him so. If you want a tearjerker plus, this is the film.
Somehow, I just can’t bring myself to watch. Now that Petya and Pasha are approximately 75% done with the epic, they are allowed to view the first part of the film and discuss the main concepts in Russian. I want to see it with them, but I don’t think I will, no matter how much the characters may be changed by their encounters with Bim.
Without giving the story away, there is no happy ending. Oh, they throw a tidbit of a resolution our way, but believe me, good does not generally come from evil. And when it’s done to a dog… or a human… that’s not my idea of entertainment.
I can’t even watch the Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals commercials (I think that’s the group) on TV—if they showed happy pets, I might donate to the cause, but the photos of beaten and abused dogs over and over—oy!
Do you watch unusually sad or traumatic movies?
—————-Tags: are people happier in warmer climates?, are there any happy Russian novels?, Beliy Bim, do you watch unusually sad movies?, Russian-Italian-American family, sad Russian movies, sad Russian novels