Laudable though it is to see a Russian film trying to deal with homo- and bi-sexuality, topics still rather taboo in that culture, "You I Love" is nevertheless a clumsily drawn, poorly acted love triangle. Marquee value of rising starlet Lubov Tolkalina might attract the curious at home, but buyers and non-Russian auds are not very likely to reciprocate.

Laudable though it is to see a Russian film trying to deal with homo- and bi-sexuality, topics still rather taboo in that culture, “You I Love” is nevertheless a clumsily drawn, poorly acted love triangle. Co-helmers Olga Stolpovskaya and Dmitri Troitsky’s feature debut may have been rushed to make deadline for Berlinale Panorama, which would explain why ending makes little to no sense. Marquee value of rising starlet Lubov Tolkalina might attract the curious at home, but buyers and non-Russian auds are not very likely to reciprocate devotion.

Moscow-based ad-man Timofei (Evgeny Koryakovsky, poor) thinks he’s happy with his newsreader g.f. Vera (Tolkalina, OK), until homeless kid Ulumji (Damir Badmaev, wooden) falls on the hood of his car, and he soon starts locking lips with the almond-eyed boy. Vera’s love for Timofei prompts her to accept the menage, despite initial shock, and she even goes to a gay club with him. Ulumji’s family is bused in later to provide horrified reactions. Ending is abrupt, with loose ends dangling. Tech credits are fine. Literal translation of original title is “I love you,” a choice as unoriginal as pic itself.

You I Love

Russia - Germany

Production

A Malevich Prods., Media Luna Entertainment GmbH production. (International sales: Media Luna Entertainment GmbH, Cologne.) Produced by Olga Stolpovskaya, Dmitri Troitsky. Directed by Olga Stolpovskaya, Dmitri Troitsky. Screenplay, Stolpovskaya.

Crew

Camera (color), Alexander Simonov; editor, Sergei Plushenko, Oleg Raevsky; music, Richardas Norvila; production designer, Konstantin Vitavsky; costume designer, Anastassia Nefedova. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 6, 2004. Russian, Kalmukian dialogue. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Damir Badmaev, Lyubov Tolkalina, Evgeny Koryakovsky, Irina Grineva, Emanuel Michael Vagando, Yuri Serstnev, Victor Shevidov, Valentina Mankhadikova, Anatoly Mankhadikov, Nina Agapova.
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