OrangeLove

OrAngeLove (Оранжлав; the stylized capitalization is a feature of the English-language title) is a Ukrainian 2009 drama about love, AIDS, and the 2005 Orange Revolution.

The film takes place vaguely against the background of the Orange Revolution, but worlds apart from it. Two people, Katya and Roman, after falling in love on a trolleybus, have locked themselves away from the world in an abandoned apartment. They are involved in a strange game in which if they remain alone in the apartment until the death of the apartment’s owner—from complications from AIDS—they win the apartment and 200,000 euros. The revolution starts outside, and they can only watch the events through the windows. Their one connection to the outside world is through letters—including, one day, the results of their AIDS tests, which they both took at the beginning of the film.

Bizarre as the film’s premise sounds, it got very good critical and audience reviews (better than 2006’s Orange Sky, another film that mixed the Orange Revolution with a love story). The film’s director, Alan Badoev (Алан Бадоєв), for whom it was his first feature-length film, aimed to create not just a film but a rebirth of Ukrainian cinema—in Variety magazine he criticized the state of Ukrainian filmmaking, which he saw as aimed mostly toward a Russian audience. (Though the film’s star, Aleksey Chadov (Алексей Чадов), is a Russian actor who also appeared in the Russian films Night Watch and Ninth Company.)

Yet such commercial concerns should be seen as secondary to the real mission of the film: creating a beautifully filmed movie that unravels its heroes’ characters, discusses a highly taboo subject in Ukraine, and uses politics as a foil for human emotions and individuals’ humanity. The film was praised particularly for its aesthetic beauty and its ability to transcend the politics it takes place among.

 

Director: Alan Badoev (Алан Бадоєв)
Stars: Aleksey Chadov (Алексей Чадов), Olga Makeeva (Ольга Макєєва), Oleksiy Vertinskiy (Олексій Вертинський), Vyacheslav Burlachko (В’ячеслав Бурлачко), Katerina Kantor (Катерина Кантор)
Production company: CineCity Production, Radio Active

 

Official trailer:

 

OrangeLove

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.