Chapulina R | Tovarischi Imports, USA/RUS | 05/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The adjectives which come to mind -- sweet, luscious, charming -- describe "You I Love," a fable about an unusual love triangle in ultra-modern Moscow. Handsome Timofei and beautiful Vera are young lovers, both successful professionals. He designs TV commercials ("Lyubov' -- eto Kola!"); she is a popular newscaster. Enter Ulumzhi, a sensual yet appealingly innocent Kalmyk newcomer, who takes a day job as a zookeeper. When Timofei accidently bumps into Ulumzhi (literally, with his car), he takes the injured homeless youth into his apartment. Arriving unexpectedly, Vera is stunned to discover Timofei and Ulumzhi have begun a passionate romance. At first hurt and angry, Vera cannot help befriending the extremely likable Asian boy. In fact, she cannot help her own physical attraction to the agreeable young man. Her dilemma: dump her boyfriend or share him with Ulumzhi? When Ulumzhi's uncle drags him back to his village, hoping to make a "real man" out of his disappointing "goluboi" nephew, Vera thinks she at last has Timofei to herself. But they both miss Ulumzhi more than they can bear. This movie had me laughing out loud in the theater. Particularly funny are the two cabbies' sly references to "you know who," a certain someone high up in the government purported to be secretly gay (hint: think "Goluboe Salo")! I thoroughly enjoyed the great scenes of the newly vibrant Moscow, as well as the sensuous (yet refreshingly "chaste") scenes on the Persian rugs! All three actors are simply, exquisitely, gorgeous! The term "eye-candy" could have been coined for this trio! Overall, a delightful film, in Russian with English subtitles."
Brilliant Love Story
J. SEKOCH | Philadelphia, PA | 10/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film last summer when it was shown during the Philadelphia Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; and instantly fell in love with it.
I noticed in a review below, that the film is criticized for it's editing style as well as music...and yet...it was exactly those elements of modern Russian culture (as well as the cultural underground the movie features) as being very engaging and powerful. While my exposure to Russian film has been very limited, I enjoy many Russian and Ukranian trance and experimental musicians' work. This movie fit right in with the almost-psychedelic and always mind-enticing montages of both sight and sound that I've come to expect from leading-edge Russian artistic expressions.
The story itself was beautiful and definitely modern/relevant. I particularly loved the contrast between the two main relationships and how they all eventually fuse into one.
I cannot recommend this movie enough for anyone who enjoys thought-provoking love stories, modern film or gay cinema in general."
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 04/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First time directors Olga Stolpovskyaya and Dmitry Troitsky have come up with this fluffy bit of eye candy. Timofei played by Evgeny Koryakovsky in what appears to be his first role is an advertising professional with a stable job and nurses a bizarre relationship with Vera, a TV show host played by Lyubov Tolkalina. Their somewhat on again-off again relationship is punctuated with unusual foreplay such as Timofei dressing himself in a cellophane loincloth with vegetables strategically disguising his most private anatomy. Damir Badmaev plays the naive urchin Uloomji. Uloomji is of Kalmyk descent, the only Buddhist nation in Europe. He apparently has come to Moscow and looks with wonder at ATM machines while he sleeps at the zoo and helps tend the animals. He literally falls off a fence onto Timofei's car. Unable to get medical attention for the lad, Timofei takes Uloomji to his apartment. There Uloomji playfully seduces Timofei until Vera walks in. The film then progresses with mild shots of the guys shooting each other with water while clothed in the shower and suggestively sudsy foam splattering across their bare chests as they physically delight in each other. The film veers back and forth with the subplot of Uloomji's family coming to intervene and extract him from this decadent lifestyle. We flashback to Uloomji and see his development while fond shots of sheep are edited into the mix. The end suggests that three can live together if their love is not possessive and allows each to pursue that which is closest to their hearts. The Russian flavor makes the story seem fresh, at least worth one night's viewing. Enjoy!"
A Refreshing Peek Inside Post-Perestroika Moscow Social Life
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"YA LYUBLU TEBYA (You I Love) is a fast paced bonbon of a movie from Russia being hailed in some circles as the 'hottest gay film of the year'. Hot it is not: fun it is. The message from director/writers Olga Stolpovskaja and Dmitry Troitsky seems more a PR statement about how Westernized and modern in social behavior Russia has become since Perestroika than creating a significant gay film. Yet somehow the result is a rapid sequence entertainment that should appeal to a very wide audience.
Timofei (Evgeny Koryakovsky) is a young, successful ad executive in Moscow, able to afford all of the luxuries of his Western counterparts. He is in a relationship with Vera (Lyubov Tolkalina) who is a popular TV personality. They have a fresh and vital lifestyle, emphasizing the manifestations of capitalism. Simultaneously we meet Uloomji (Damir Badmaev) who comes from the poorer provinces, the son of a strict and struggling worker family. Uloomji strikes out for Moscow to find a job and a life. He 'accidentally' encounters Timofei who feels sorry for the homeless youth and takes him to his apartment for care...and cavorting! The socially naive Uloomji and the sexually naive Timofei collide (the metaphor is readily apparent) and are discovered in embrace when Vera returns home. The remainder of the story is how the two men and one woman grow into a ménage a trois of sorts and how the friends and families of the three respond.
While the story is really one of bisexuality it is played as a drawing room comedy (?TV sitcom Moscow style?) and while the film takes a lot of visual and technical chances - some of which work well, others spoil - the final result is a light entertainment that doesn't really push the edge purported by the trailers and the PR media glut. The three main actors are excellent and show promise of becoming stars in their own right. This is a fun film that asks the audience to just step on for the ride for an inside look at the now-open Moscow life! Grady Harp, July 05"
"But it's only you I love"
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Admittedly You I Love is a stylistic mess, with its frenzied editing, jittery jump cuts, techno music, and weirdly out-of-place sonic experimentation; the film looks like some kind of cheap, untried music video. And the love scenes between the two leading men are so badly choreographed that it's almost laughable.
Consequently, it would be easy to dismiss You I Love is an irrelevance, a fledgling Russian film of little importance, that is, until after viewing the film, you watch the interviews with the writer, director, and actors. They firmly give the film cultural and social perspective and one quickly realizes that You I Love, for all its slightness and triviality, is really vital, fresh, and also terribly important. Russia is still a fairly conservative society and most Russians would probably cringe at the thought of homosexuality up on the big screen, so you have to admire a movie that addresses a taboo subject in frank and honest terms.
By making a vivacious comedy, a farce of Russian bisexual manners, they made the film "kind of gay," while also ensuring that the film will appeal to a wider audience. You I Love not only stands as the first gay Russian film ever made, but also holds the prize for the most widely seen Russian film outside Russia. Set in Moscow, it has moments of shimmering, modern hipness, where the central characters are quirky, attractive, high-end consumers, and where relationships and sexuality are perhaps as fluid as anywhere in the West.
Timofey, (Evgeny Koryakovsky) is a trendy advertising copywriter. He drives a shiny Audi, lives in a lovely apartment, and works on TV commercials that somehow manage to equate soft drinks with freedom. At an upscale café, he meets and falls for Vera, (Lubov Tolkalina). Vera is a stylish and beautiful TV news anchorwoman who has a bigger appetite for food than for sex. Timofey, however, seems deliriously happy, until Uloomji (Damir Badmaev), a young, and innocent drifter, literally falls on Timofey's car.
Uloomji is a Kalmyk and exotic looking, but he's also young and naïve. He lives at the zoo and is absolutely flummoxed by the concept of an ATM, but Timofey is soon taken with him and gradually becomes besotted with the sexy young transient. For Uloomji, Timofey represents the world of glamour he knows from magazine advertisements, and for Timofey, Uloomji represents youth, passion, and an indefinable lust for life. Uloomji eventually moves in, much to Vera's displeasure, and what follows is a strange and complex bedroom farce as the three embark on a journey of sexual and emotional exploration.
There are some terrific moments in You I Love. In one scene, Vera, dressed in sexy and provocative lingerie, pretends she's a transsexual in order to rid them of Uloomji's prying Uncle, and in another scene, when Timofey and Uloomji decide that they like each other, they sing songs and sort of cavort around in their underwear. Later, they play loud music, get frisky in the bathtub and somehow break the crystal chandelier. Vera is a bit conflicted by all this metro-sexuality; she desperately loves Timofey, but is she willing to play second fiddle to Uloomji?
Vera's confusion leads her to visit a spa-clinic for high-voltage body treatments and to follow Timofey to an underground gay club, where they enjoy a ménage à trois with a sexy young blond man in a bathroom stall (it's one of the funniest scenes in the film). I'm not sure what Vera's motivations are for doing this: maybe she wants to be more accepting of Timofey and Uloomji's lifestyle, or perhaps she just wants to explore her own sexuality. Meanwhile, Uloomji has his own problems to contend with - he has to come out to his traditionally minded parents, while fighting to be truthful to Timofey.
You I love has been compared to Pedro Almodóvar's films, but I couldn't see the comparison. Almodóvar's films are a product of Spain's new post-Franco social freedoms, whereas this film is a product of a bourgeoning and vibrant queer-themed Russian cinema movement. However, I do think the movie, thematically and stylistically, bears a resemblance to the films of American filmmaker Greg Araki. Even the final scene is a direct lift from Araki's 1999 film Splendor. Regardless of this, the filmmaking style remains exuberant and self-assured, and the combination of sex farce with biting Russian social commentary is always relevant and pertinent, and for the most part, well carried off. Mike Leonard July 05. "