In mid-19th-century St. Petersburg, portly, sweet-natured landowner
Oblomov (Tabakov) decides one day that there is no point in getting out
of bed, which is where he stays. Feeling understandably alienated from modern society, Oblomov spends his time pondering existence, fondly recalling childhood, and bickering with faithful manservant Zakhar. But Oblomov's slothful life is re-energized with the arrival of his friend, Andrei Shtoltz (Bogatyrov). Soon Shtoltz has Oblomov out and about, and one day he introduces him to the lovely Olga (Solovey). Could it be that in this beautiful creature, Oblomov has found a new reason to live?
Why we love it
Based on a beloved novel by Ivan Goncharov, "Oblomov" combines the sensitivity of a Chekhov tale with the farcical tradition of Russian theater. As the title character, Tabakov is adorably ruffled, indecisive, undisciplined, and wholly empathetic — an apt metaphor for Mother Russia in the pre-Glasnost era. Mikhalkov wrings a lot of mileage out of his hero's soulful struggles, contrasting the dreariness of the present with the gilded glow of childhood through his adroit use of color and lighting. A charming moral parable, "Oblomov" takes the measure of life, sees it lacking, and then builds to an acceptance of love's fulfillment.