After taking a wrong turn in their car, a young gay Russian couple witnesses what they believe is a vicious gay bashing; their quandary over what to do about it propels them—and this suspenseful drama—into ever more dangerous territory. The slow-burning film is highly topical, given the intense worldwide outrage over Russia’s mistreatment of gays and the country’s 2013 federal law prohibiting homosexual “propaganda.” Anton and Vlad make a handsome pair, sharing a loving and natural chemistry in the comfortable privacy of their Moscow apartment. For Anton, the burden of what they may have witnessed outweighs Vlad’s fear of probing too deeply into the incident. Convinced of the police’s indifference—recent events make this a terrifyingly plausible scenario—Anton talks his skeptical lover into launching their own amateur investigation into the hate crime. Their risky search for the truth has unexpected and grim consequences.
In their first major film roles, the two Russian-born leads give convincing and nuanced performances. Renat Shuteev, in particular, conveys a steely reserve behind Anton’s haunted eyes. His character stubbornly forges ahead into tense situations even though he knows where they could lead. French-born director-producer-writer Jonathan Taieb, tackling very big ideas on a small budget, aims to convince us that we are ultimately defined more by our actions than by our ideas. - Chris Keech, Frameline
Official Selection Torino Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 2015
Official Selection Mardi Gras Film Festival 2015
Official Selection Frameline: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival 2014
Official Selection Mix Brasil 2014