Chapter 1 - The Irony of Fate or, “Enjoy Your Bath!”
"New Year’s Eve in Russia can be a stressful day. Cooks are hoping not to be hit by a power cut just as they put the pies in the oven as the electricity grid is overwhelmed with demand. Young people are wondering how to manage both to please their families and get to central Moscow in time for the street parties. Businessmen are feverishly trying to remember whether they have confused their presents for their long-suffering wives with those for their 18-year-old girlfriends. The president is getting ready to persuade the people in his New Year’s speech that the dawning year will be at least a little bit better than the one that is finishing.
Every new year is unpredictable. This is doubly true in Russia, where – as comedian Mikhail Zadornov said in the 1990s, when the KGB’s archives were being opened and previously unknown facts exposed – not just the future but the past, too, is unpredictable. But one thing is certain: every year on 31 December on Russian TV at least one channel will show the three-hour long 1975 film The Irony of Fate, (or Enjoy Your Bath!) (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!)"
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Click on the image below to watch The Irony of Fate with English subtitles on youtube official Mosfilm channel:
image source: http://www.ruslania.com/pictures/big/4606777002818.jpg
“С лёгким паром!” “Enjoy Your Bath!” or literally “[Congratulations] on the light steam!” can be said to someone who has just come out of a bath – or better still, a banya.
When Zhenya’s friend appears on his doorstep, Zhenya’s mother sends him away saying “Иди в баню!” “Go to a banya!” This phrase is a polite version of other expressions starting with “Иди…” “Go to…” that are usually followed by rude words. Of course, in this case banya is exactly where Zhenya’s friend – and Zhenya himself – are about to go.
“Какая гадость…” – “How disgusting…” – says Ippolit, and the viewer thinks he is referring to the presence of a strange man in his girlfriend’s flat, when he continues: “… эта ваша заливная рыба” – “… your jellied fish.”