Director Mikhail Romm called “Dream” a “study of human destinies influenced by Tolstoy and Balzac,” but you can throw in Dostoevsky for good measure. Scripted by Evgeny Gabrilovich with subtle irony, the film describes the empty, boring lives of a group of people living in a boarding house run by the tough Madame Rosa (a very fine Faina Ranevskaya), who tyrannizes her son, an unemployed engineer, and her wide-eyed chambermaid, Anna (Elena Kusmina).
Anna, an uneducated peasant who provides comic relief, is the only one who fights her way out of social oppression. Most interesting thing about the film is where it is set — in a Ukrainian town that belonged at the time to Poland and, at pic’s end, is “liberated” and incorporated into the Soviet Union. Romm had to change a few sentences for the censors, but the movie was never banned.