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Double Life, a Short History of Sex in the USSR

Double Life, a Short History of Sex in the USSR

The October Revolution ushered in an era of sexual freedom and liberation from bourgeois conventions. Satisfying sexual needs had to be "as simple as drinking a glass of water," according to feminist Alexandra Kollontai who was at the forefront of the fight for the liberation of morals. 

Rapidly, the situation spiraled out of control: Syphilis spread throughout the country, and, in 1922, an estimated number of nine million abandoned children—the "bezprizornye"—roamed the streets of Russia in criminal gangs. The number of abandoned women, with no resources, became alarming. In the ensuing social chaos, the regime operated a total U-turn. While official propaganda exalted the virtues of the "new" man whose healthy body had no other purpose than to work and toil for the glory of communism, sexual activity had been relegated to its strict reproductive function at the service of an under-performing Soviet birth rate. Community life and general surveillance would confine sexuality to a quasi clandestine status for the next thirty years.

DOUBLE LIFE, A SHORT HISTORY OF SEX IN THE USSR revisits 70 years of communist power through the prism of sexuality.

"Amazing! Kolmane tells the history of the USSR through the angle of sexuality ... From Riga to Kiev through St. Petersburg, Moscow and Siberia, she talks to eye witnesses, historians, filmmakers, researchers." Le Monde

"Dizzying and unprecedented insight into the intimacy of a people who lived a secret but very eventful double life during the 70 years of the communist regime." RTBF 

"Revisits the history of the Eastern Bloc ... and not from the usual political, geopolitical or economic angle." Télérama


Main credits

Kolmane, Inara (film director)
Kolmane, Inara (screenwriter)
Kudryashova, Mila (creator)
Juhnevics, Janis (film producer)
You, Estelle Robin (film producer)
Donn, Vladimir (film producer)
Straub, Anna Fedorova (commentator)

Other credits

Editing, Katya Chelli; original music, Alexei Aigui; directors of photography, Uldis Jancis [and 6 others].

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Eastern Europe
Human Sexuality


; "Double Life"; Icarus Films; October Revolution; USSR; Russia; sex; Stalin; repression; Nikolai Bakharev; Sergei Eisenstein; ,doc; history; politics

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