Unfinished Piece for a Mechanical Piano

Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, the acclaimed Russian filmmaker of “A Slave of Love” and “Oblomov,” this is a bittersweet, humorous tapestry of human folly and lost dreams.

The film is loosely based on Chekhov's first play “Platonov,” written in 1881, published posthumously in 1923, and first produced in 1928, but the text is also enhanced by other short stories.

“Unfinished Piece” chronicles the interlocking events of one summer's day at the decaying estate of Anna Petrovna, a general's widow. Among her guests are Platonov, the local schoolmaster, his ingenuous wife Sasha, Anna's stepson Sergei, and Sergei's wife Sophia.

Platonov and Sophia had lovers in their idealistic youth, and their meeting sparks a brief renewal of their affair and the dreams and goals Platonov once held as a youth. But once he realizes the absurdity and futility of recreating the past, Platonov decides to end his hollow existence. But his effort proves miscalculated, and all ends well, with the shrewd Anna Petrovna remarking, “Nothing will change….”

The film, in which Mikhalkov also appears as an actor, was enthusiastically received in the Soviet Union and abroad, winning many festival prizes.