Alexei German directed this French-Russian co-production with atmospheric black-and-white cinematography on snow-covered streets depicting Moscow life of the early '50s. After work, boiler repairman (Alexander Bashirov) walks through the night and into an encounter with Stalin's police.
Glinsky (Y. Tsurilo), aka The General, heads a household of his wife (N. Ruslanova), son, twins, grandmother, and servants. Amid anarchic actions at a madcap hospital, the staff turns toady as the General goes about his usual routines. When a KGB plot leads to the General's arrest, he flees only to be caught at the train station.
Forced from their apartment, his wife and son move into a seedy rooming house where everyone has their own individual toilet seats. En route to a gulag, the General is gang-raped. Since he's a doctor, he winds up being taken to the country house of the dying Stalin.
After a return to his family and the ruins of his home in Moscow, he eventually links up with the boiler repairman. Shown in competition at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.