Twelve Chairs- A Revolutionary Society

I was extremely interested by the depiction of Soviet society in this movie. This film, set in late 1920s Russia, seemed to reflect the theme of the old, Tsarist ruling class pitifully struggling to remain relevant while a new proletarian society emerges around them. The main plot if the movie revolves around representatives of the nobility and clergy scrambling to find some old jewels hidden in a chair, a quest that (spoiler alert) ultimately turns out to be in vain. While these metaphors for the Tsarist ruling classes are searching for their old wealth, we can see the signs of the old society dying and a new one rising around them. The death of the old order can be seen in things like the terrified meeting of old Russian officials and the auctions selling off their stuff. Meanwhile, the Soviet society is starting to emerge around them, as seen in the Red Army troops marching and singing, the public lectures, choirs, propaganda posters, and just a general sense of camaraderie among the people. With all that in mind, I’d like to pose the question: what message does the film want us to take from this? Do they think the fading of the old order is a good or bad thing?

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