dir. Heather MacDonald (available on video from Filmakers Library, 1992, 124 East 40th St., New York, NY 10016, tel. (212) 808-4980)

(I reviewed this in Soviet & Post Soviet Review, 22 No. 1, 1995) Documentary about gay men & lesbians in Kiev pre-coup.

dir. Natalia Sharandak, 1993 (available on video from Frameline)

Revealing interviews with six Russian lesbians who convey the hardships and joys of being a lesbian in Russia. While Tatjana speaks hesitantly about her sexuality, believing it to be a private matter, Muchabat charmingly flirts with the filmmaker, "We'll make the movie after we have sex, okay?" This fascinating documentary touches on a range of issues including women's prisons, transsexuality, lesbian and gay community organizing, coming out and homophobia. Under Article 121--which criminalizes homosexuality--lesbians and gay men in Kiev face the threat of imprisonment, blackmail, government harassment, and family rejection.

Vignettes of lesbians in Leningrad including singer/poet Olga Krauze and a cross-dresser who works as a mail train conductor.

MOSCOW FAGS (Moskovskie golubye)
dir. Iakov Poselski, 1995, 25 min.

Poselski worked as a documentary filmmaker for Moscow TV, but he did this video underground. Clearly what he did was go to Kevin Gardner and ask him what he should make a film about. Kevin narrates the film in English and also has a starring role. Slava Mogutin & Filippini also make an appearance, so it's mostly a film about US-Russian gay couples. . . Actually Kevin's ex (not ex at the time) Pasha does tell about life in prison and the opushchennye, which may be the most revealing part of the film.


Feature Films:

LIFE IS A WOMAN (Zhizn' - eto zhenshchina)
Feminale a. V. Hansaring 86
Koln, 50670 Germany
dir. Zhanna Serikbayeva, 1991

Lesbian prison drama. I found the plot a bit incoherent, but others enjoyed it as camp. Through a series of flashbacks we discover Madina is in prison because her boyfriend lost her at cards to another man. She sleeps with him, but then stabs him. In prison she is courted by various butches, but gives in only after she learns her boyfriend has married another. No sooner does she submit to "Monk" (who bears an uncanny resemblance to John Lithgow in Garp) than Monk leaves her for another & the jealous fights begin. Monk eventually gets in trouble with the authorities, while Madina is released.

CREATION OF ADAM (Sotvorenie Adama)
(available on video from Facets)

Andrey is a young man who fears his marriage may fall apart because his wife thinks he is gay. A series of events confirm these suspicions as Andrey meets Philip, an enterprising business man who turns his life around. Philip shows Andrey how to love. Russian with English subtitles.

Touted as a gay film, but it's more of a film about a double: not much real sexuality here. The hero does save a gay man from a gay-bashing at the beginning, which good deed apparently leads to the appearance of his guardian angel, the enigmatic double. The fantastic elements eventually send this one off the deep end. But see also Vadim Temkin's opinion.


A gang of young, tough skinheads make their mark in the chaotic turmoil of post-Communist Russia, where right-wing extremists of all sorts abound. This iron-pumping gang, led by its crazed leader, knows no limits in its terrifying effort to purify the nation. It's a rollercoaster ride of an action film in the tradition of Mad Max. Russian with English subtitles. (Available on video from Facets)

HAMMER AND SICKLE, by Sergei Livnev (1994)

This is an interesting yet bizarre little tale of a fictional (as far as I know, anyway) experiment performed during the Stalin-controlled years in the USSR. The main character is changed from a woman into a man. This is part of a larger plan to change more women into men and have a stronger work-force/army, etc. It's a very in-depth character study of the main character, who tries to fit into a world that she (now 'he') doesn't really understand, especially since she's now a man ... Stalin dislikes the results of the experiments and has the scientist killed. The main character then goes off to live a life as a simple, unknown everyday Soviet, but is inexplicably drawn into larger and larger schemes (somewhat reminiscent of "Forrest Gump" in that way). (s)He has run-ins with different important characters, including his ex-boyfriend from his days of being a woman, as well as going on a demented quest for the nurse with whom he possibly fell in love after the operation... However, he is trapped in his life as an important Soviet married man, and in the end makes a huge sacrifice for his country (unwillingly), and the movie goes from there to an ending that is possibly happy, yet still somehow incredibly depressing.

Russian description

You I Love, dir Ol'ga Stolpovskaya & Dmitry Troitsky, 2004

Vera and Tim are successful young professionals living fast-paced lives in ultra-modern Moscow. Their lives crackle with the capitalist energy of excess, anxiety, consumption, and stress- and they are in love. Everything changes one night when Tim accidentally drives his car into Uloomji, a young Kalmyk day worker. (The Kalmyks are a semi-nomadic people of Mongolian decent.) The two men begin a torrid affair that involves howling and knocking over a lot of furniture. Tim is attracted to Uloomji's exotic demeanor and liberated by his impulsiveness and lack of inhibition. To Uloomji, Tim embodies a kind of class and refinement he sees only in magazines. Vera struggles to comprehend their bond and her boyfriend's erratic behavior. She is dragged reluctantly into a bizarre love triangle. Before long, all three lives unravel, exemplified by a visit to a Buddhist healer, a three-way in the bathroom of a gay bar, a faked death and a kidnapping.

You I Love Website


Far from Sunset Boulevard 2006, dir. Igor' Minaev

The film is about a kind of love triangle between Sergei Eisenstein, Grigory Aleksandrov, and Liubov' Orlova. While well received at a Russian film festival in Honfleur, it has yet to be released because of the subject matter, which puts two famous Soviet filmmakers into a gay relationship. on the film (in Russian)

More on


Pushkin, the Last Duel, dir. Natalia Bondarchuk 2006

A homophobic film that plays up the gay connection between Dantes, who killed Pushkin in a duel, and his adopted father Baron Heeckeren. The death of Russia's greatest poet is presented as a conspiracy of foreigners and gays. on the film (in Russian)

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