Opening scene

In the book, in the opening scene, an old man is answering a question if he was writing a memoir, what would it be about. He said that his life was quite boring and he didn’t do much. However he remembers a girl that he loved but didn’t confess in his feelings. He would write about her.

In one of the draft versions of the script in the beginning there is a swimming competition where Ivan has shown a part of his complex character. Just out of boredom or as a demonstration that he doesn’t follow rules, Ivan decides to swim crawl stroke instead of breaststroke. He is disqualified even though he came first. This episode was not put in the final version of the film.

Another version of the script has several additional scenes that show Ivan’s daily life. With his friend, Basin, they are playing a trolleybus driver and a random citizen. Ivan pretends to be the driver and removes the pantographs of the trolleybus from the electric wires. He asks a random pedestrian to hold it for him while he gets tools. What happens next is an actual trolleybus driver sees a man holding the pantographs away from weirs and therefore the bus can’t move. Ivan and Bazin set up a conflict and walk away. Then they go to a football (soccer) stadium to support their team. Ivan and Bazin seem to be careless young men who don’t yet look at the life seriously. Or perhaps they do, but want to stay away from the adult problems for as long as possible. In the next scene appears a TV show hosted by the professor Kuznetsov where he talks about the young generation in general and some difficult kids in particular.

The final version of the film doesn’t contain the episodes described above, it starts with a scene in a court, where Ivan’s parents are getting divorced. Compared to the book the judge’s speech is significantly extended. It takes a whole triad of legal words to simply say “you are divorced now”. This detail might possibly be an evidence that Soviet bureaucracy was complex, entangled and obsolete.