A melodramatic film with lots of ironic allusions, and Jewish melodies, shifting between comedy and tragedy. The story is borne entirely by the cheerful, nonchalant opportunism of the hero, Ljowa, played by the star of the day, Nikolay Batalov, who, with character and charm, wanders through an extremely varied illustrated broadsheet: from Tsarist Russia to New York, and back to the young Soviet Union. He feels safe and secure with his Jewish friends, although he does not practise religion himself. Despite all his efforts, and being constantly motivated by a creative and pristine sense of justice, he never succeeds in pursuing a social career. In the end, after many years, he is glad that he has at least become an engine driver.
Entertaining sound material with sensitive genre paintings from New York, as people imagined them at the time, from the perspective of Moscow: public authorities and bosses, expressively staged scenes of violence and looting. An unconventional film by Lev Kuleshov. The title can be seen as a symbol.
Print courtesy of the Austrian Film Museum, Vienna