Director Yuli Raizman’s deep empathy with young women and his ability to put their feelings on the screen makes “Mashenka” an engrossing little jewel of a picture. In this love story between a girl who works in the post office and a young taxi driver, actress Valentina Karavayeva wins over auds as an absolutely average girl who loses her heart to a boy she’s not sure of.
As air-raid sirens sound over Moscow, mousy telegraph girl Mashenka (Karavayeva) misses the tram and has to take a cab home, leading to a chance encounter with good-looking Alyosha (Mikhail Kuznetsov). When he stands her up for a date, she finds he’s sick and watches over his bedside like a guardian angel. But at a party, where he spends his time with another girl, Mashenka bravely gives up her illusions. Though it may sound like the stuff of women’s novels, in the hands of Raizman and his scripters the material is transformed into a genuinely touching tale, a little talky but always warm-hearted. Not surprisingly, pic was a big hit on release.