Film Description: This 1962 Soviet black-and-white drama film was directed by Mikhail Romm. The plot is structured as a series of linked episodes, following the lives of three young scientists. One of them, Dmitrii, is conducting new groundbreaking research while simultaneously exposing his body to large quantities of radiation, which he knows will eventually kill him. His pursuit for new scientific knowledge verges on the fanatical. He is unable to a be an adequate husband to his wife, has no social life, as he spends all his time working. At his wedding, he is toasted as “a Soviet Scientist, a simple Soviet man.” To identify the “Soviet” with the heroic is clearly a positive image. And yet, is he truly a model for a “simple Soviet man?” The confrontation between these ideas, the demands of science on man and the demands of the Soviet system on the Soviet citizens is never resolved. The film also reveals a fear in the unintended effects of nuclear power and potential nuclear war. In one revealing conversation with his father, Dmitrii is asked if he helped create “the bomb.” He says yes, and replies that if they did not create it that it is possible half the world would have been destroyed, no doubt from untamed American aggression (thus reinforcing the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction). Also, Dmitrii’s decaying physical state and increasingly frail health provides vivid visual evidence for the threat of unintended consequences from nuclear power.
In this scene two friends banter about who will build communism as they review personnel files for workers at the laboratory.
Translation from Russian:
Illia: ” Communism, by the way, should be built by kind people.”
Dmitrii: “Ought to be by sensible people.”
Illia: “Kind and patient people.”
Dmitrii: “Kind people get robbed.”
Illia: ” Again I say, kind and patient people.”
Dmitrii: “I can imagine what kind of communism you will build, alright let’s go.”