A gentle awakening. The young Galiya has fallen asleep on the sofa; her eyes first open from the laugh of a woman’s voice and a loving touch. Galiya and Olya now stand before the clothes closet in their small, Moscow apartment and ponder what to wear for the demonstration that they are about to go to. The two have been a couple for two years; they openly declare their love and participate regularly in marches and gatherings protesting Russia’s anti-homosexual laws. Whereas Galiya, who is from the Ural, tends to keep more in the background, the Moscow native Olya is the driving force, in more than just their romantic relationship. Olya is an active member of the LGBT-movement, gives speeches, organizes events—and wants to demonstrate her love to Galiya with their own child.
In his documentary snapshot, Olya's Love , Kirill Sakharnov accompanies his two protagonists through their everyday life, which is determined mainly by the events on the streets of Moscow and conversations at home. What strongly characterizes this film is its clever overlapping of private and public, especially within the context of a restrictive social system: to what extent are the freedoms that one fights for everyday, also possible in one’s relationship? When during a demonstration a battling Olya persists in talking to a policeman who remains silent, then her voice seems to collide against Putin’s state apparatus; but still, she makes her voice heard. And she knows that for the path to true democracy, as well as to her own happiness, every step counts, literally.
Olya's Love is an intimate film that prefers close-ups to a big overview. A film that moves at the tempo of its protagonists, and also hands over the camera to them at times; one that acts quickly in order to react. Mainly, however, it is a film about love in the time of resistance.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt