Events have lent an explosive new significance to this prophetic film concerning the agony of exile from debut director Elie Grappe, which confirmed at Cannes final 12 months and is now being launched in UK cinemas to lift cash for Ukrainian refugees. It issues Olga, a devoted teenage Ukrainian gymnast, excellently performed by the real-life Ukrainian gymnast Anastasia Budiashkina, who herself final week arrived in Poland after escaping Kharkiv.
Within the film, Olga leaves her homeland for Switzerland throughout the 2014 Maidan revolution to compete for the Swiss workforce throughout the European championships in Stuttgart. Her widowed mom was in a position to get her out to security as a result of Olga’s dad was Swiss, and she or he herself is being threatened by the state for her work as an investigative journalist uncovering corruption throughout the pro-Russian presidency. Olga is lonely, drained, scared, reflexively suspicious of her Swiss hosts – but in addition an outstanding competitor who can obliterate all her anxieties together with her fanatical dedication to work on this state-of-the-art Swiss gymnasium. However because the robust coaching programme continues and Olga’s difficult relationship together with her sullen French- and Italian-speaking teammates will get sophisticated, the information comes by means of of how Ukraine (and her mom) are underneath brutal assault. Olga is wretched with regret for leaving her family and friends for the tasteless safeness of Switzerland. The ability, athleticism and fantastic thing about her gymnastics now have a brand new choreography of guilt and rage.
It is a movie whose concepts and feelings have come right into a fierce new focus. And there’s an virtually insufferable ironic flavour to the ending, which imagines a type of emotional closure in 2020, a chastened acceptance of a precarious peace purchased with bloody battle all the way in which again in 2014. And the selection of Switzerland for Olga’s flag of comfort is an excellent piece of symbolism. Olga is, in her troubled manner, emblematic of Ukraine’s craving for a brand new European id, a peaceable and affluent modernity and a (very Swiss) neutrality, during which its independence could be cocooned.
However Olga is to see how there’s additionally one thing evasive in her Swiss exile. She is mortified on the braveness of the Ukrainian gymnasts when she comes face-to-face with them on the Euro championships and is convulsed with anger on the sight of one in every of them who has gone over to the Russians. In its sudden manner, this movie speaks to the brand new agony of banishment now being felt by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, and to the profound unease and concern and impotence spreading westward throughout Europe.