Status Pre Production
Screenplay Alexander Hahn
Director Alexander Hahn
The Soviet Union, in the middle of the 1970s. Vadim Myshkin is the father of a family and officially works as an animal handler. But secretly he listens to Radio Liberty and dreams of going to America. Only that is not in the best interest of his government. If Vadim were a Jew, he could legally leave the country. And that would absolutely be in the best interest of the government. Unfortunately, Vadim isn‘t the slightest bit Jewish but Russian through and through. One day, however, Vadim has a glorious flash of genius. Now all that is left is to convince his wife Natalia and the Russian-Jewish neighbors – Grisha Popowitch and his sister Sofia...
The plan is simple: in order to be a Jew, Vadim only has to marry Sofia. Well, maybe it‘s not quite that simple: Vadim would first have to officially divorce his wife – who still happens to be the love of his life – Natalia. And then Grisha would have to marry Natalia to make her also partly Jewish – at least on paper.
Grisha isn‘t hard to convince of the merits of Vadim‘s plan: Grisha has been secretly in love with Natalia since... well, forever. And so it goes: first the divorce, then a double wedding and finally all of them jointly leave for the promised land. But there are no direct flights to Israel. And so the whole family – including the small Misha (son of Vadim and Natalia), Vadims Father Konstantin and Vadims one-eyed great-grandmother Nina – grab their 16 bright yellow suitcases and get set for a two-week stopover in the capital of Austria, Vienna. The Myshkin-Popowitchs end up in a rather dubious boarding house, called the Pension Esterhazy, managed by a bustling and hustling Hungarian named Laszlo. He helps immigrants, his main clientele, but he also uses them for monetary gains...