And while his brother Andrej Konchalovski spent part of the eighties in America recording action hits such as “Runaway Train” and “Tango & Cash”, Nikita Mikhalkov spent part of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties in Italy. Previously, this filmmaker, who was at his creative peak in the first half of the nineties (Urga, Burnt by the Sun), showed interest in Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, and in “Oci ciornie” or “Dark Eyes” he also drew inspiration from the legendary Russian writer. This film, shot in an Italian-Soviet co-production, was nominated for an Oscar, and the award for best actor was won by one of the greatest actors of all time, Marcello Mastroianni, in Cannes, where this costumed humorous romantic drama premiered.
He is also the narrator who introduces us to his life story, which is narrated by his Romano during the boat ride to a passenger from Russia who sat down at his table in a restaurant. And just as thematically this film is inspired by Chekhov, equally in terms of visual and stylistic Mihalkov drew inspiration from the Italian genius Federico Fellini, because at times it seems grotesque and ironic, typically Fellini. The story takes place there somewhere at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, and Romano is now a guy in his later years who remembers his life and very quickly it becomes clear to us that he is a typical poacher who married well. He was never in love with his wife, although his mother-in-law quickly understood who he was, marriage was his ticket to high society, and the fateful moment happened when he fell in love with a young Russian woman in a spa.
However, just like him, a young Russian woman (Elena Sofonova) was married, and although he hoped that it would be one of the casual romances that he would quickly forget about, the fatal Russian woman would haunt him for the rest of his life. Thus, in his search for her, Romano will end up in Russia, where he will fall into numerous adventures, and the film is full of charm, filmed in great locations in Italy and in Russia, and Mikhalkov finely captured the spirit of the times and ironically depicted the life of high European society in the late 19th century. . However, beneath the surface, this fluffy and drinkable story hides a lot and is extremely complex, because by the end it will become clear to us that the seemingly fun life adventure of the old Italian storyteller is not so happy.