A film by Alina Rudnitskaya
2015, 30 minutes
No. 025

A courageous portrait of what its like to be gay in today’s Russia, from Alina Rudnitskaya, one of the country's most important young filmmakers.

Against the backdrop of annual Victory Day celebrations – a commemoration of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany – six gay and lesbian couples talk candidly about their lives and the troubling changes they’re witnessing in their country. Sitting in their apartments, behind closed doors and windows, they share touching stories of how they met and fell in love, the difficulties of coming out to their families, but also the anger and violence they’re seeing from their neighbors and co-workers.

In 2013, the Russian State Duma passed a law forbidding propaganda of any kind that supports non-traditional sexual relations among minors. This law, widely viewed and understood as anti-gay legislation, has led to an intensification of homophobic sentiment and rhetoric in society.

In the documentary, one woman describes losing her job after the law was passed. A young man talks about the danger of simply walking down the street. Another couple is shown watching a popular Russian talk show. On it, a man is seen decrying the recent anti-homosexual law passed in the Duma. "It’s too weak," he says, “this type should be forbidden to donate blood or sperm, and if they have a car crash their hearts should be buried in the ground or burned.” The audience applause lasts several minutes.

The men and women in this film know they are risking their lives simply by allowing themselves to be filmed. Victory Day is an essential documentary.

Official Selection, Frameline Film Festival
Official Selection, DOK Leipzig Film Festival
Official Selection, Human Rights Film Festival

“Highly recommended. Provides an important window into the state of tolerance in Putin’s Russia – and more generally into the backlash against tolerance for non-traditional relationships that increasingly defines mainstream culture in many parts of Europe and the United States.” – Educational Media Reviews Online

"Perfect for use in advanced undergraduate classes on Russian language and culture." – Slavic Review

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