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QFFU x art200: Queerness & Communism (sold out)

September 5, 2023 @ 18:30 20:00

Released in 1927, Bed and Sofa is a unique film that depicts the realities of the poor working class in Moscow and discusses sexual themes such as polygamy and abortion. During 1927, the government was already preparing for what would be called the Cultural Revolution, after which all movies (and indeed all art) produced in the USSR were regulated by the rules and ideals of Soviet realism. Some films during these early Soviet days, however, were able to depict more raw reflections of life. Even then, Bed and Sofa was a highly controversial film, as it focused on human relationships and sexual themes while completely disregarding the state and party.

The film calls attention to the dysfunctions and contradictions of early Soviet society. For example, its depiction of the cramped basement and Volodia’s inability to find housing form a stark contrast to the official picture the state propagated of its idyllic Soviet life. The film wasn’t just controversial in the USSR: due to its depiction of polyamory and discussion of abortion, the film got banned in the United States and Europe, despite the state-run producer offering it for international distribution.

Rosa Oomen, QFFU

This screening is organised together with art200.

art200 is a queer film festival in Romania, born out of the initiative of individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a project fueled by a passion for films and queer culture, as well as a desire to foster discussion and create a sense of unity among diverse individuals within our community. The festival aims to bring together people from various identities and backgrounds to celebrate and explore queer cinema.


A married couple lives in a small basement apartment in Moscow. When the husband’s old friend arrives in the city and struggles to find lodging, the husband invites him to stay on the sofa. The wife, Liuda, grows weary of her husband Kolia’s domineering and self-centered behavior, and the never-ending household duties. Despite the cramped space with Volodia moving in, he quickly wins Liuda over with his helpful and generous nature.

One day, with Kolia away for work, Liuda and Volodia give in to their sexual tension. When Kolia returns home, it’s he who must sleep on the couch, and a polyamorous routine unfolds within the confines of their early Soviet apartment. They trade places on the sofa and bed until Volodia also becomes an inattentive husband. Liuda becomes pregnant and realizes she can shape a life for herself

Film Facts

Original language title: Tretya Meshchanskaya

Directed by: Abram Room

Year: 1927

Country: USSR

Running time: 74 mins

Genre: Comedy, Satire, Drama

Language: Russian

Subtitles: English

Content warning: Discussions of abortion

Side program

People from the art200 International Queer Culture Festival will introduce the program via a video recording.

Villa Concordia

Concordiastraat 67A
Utrecht, Utrecht 3551 EM Nederland
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