Olga (Anastasia Budiashkina) is a 15-year-old Ukrainian gymnast who will end up in exile in Switzerland. The time of the action is 2013 and 2014, the time when dangerous cooking began in Ukraine and when, after the revolution on Kiev’s Maidan, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled to the north. Today we all know what happened and what will happen in the future, that is, in the events after the action of this striking psychological-sports drama recorded in a Swiss-Ukrainian production. The screenwriter and director of the film premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week, young Swiss Elie Grappe (1994) came up with the idea for “Olga” back in 2015 when he was working on a documentary about Ukrainian violinists who arrived in Switzerland just during the protests. on the Maidan.
Instead of a musician, Grappe decided it might not be bad for the main protagonist to be an athlete and the man was definitely not wrong because “Olga” is a striking, poignant and emotional drama about a girl who is physically in one country and spiritually in another. Olga will end up in Switzerland, where her late father is from, after someone tries to assassinate her mother, an investigative journalist. The talented gymnast will immediately end up in the Swiss national team and work will already begin on obtaining citizenship there so that she can represent Switzerland at the upcoming championships. And not only is adapting to a new three-language environment complicated enough, Olga will find herself in an additional rift when she starts cooking in Ukraine.
Olga is afraid for her mother who is constantly in the forefront and reports from the protests, and as time goes on she will be more and more broken. She feels like she should be in Ukraine, but at the same time she is a top athlete and she has dedicated her whole life to training and hopes for a medal. It is especially difficult for her because no one in Switzerland seems to care what is happening in her country. No one is very tired of the Ukrainian situation, everyone lives their lives, and they do not even try to understand what is happening in the head of a 15-year-old who has a hard time reliving everything that happens (she is constantly on Skype with her mom and friends who stayed in Ukraine) and through video clips recorded on mobile phones, we occasionally follow the events in Kiev.
Although the role of Olga was the first in the career of the young Ukrainian actress and gymnast Anastasia Budiashkina, the girl is extraordinary and only by her face can we discover what complete chaos she is experiencing. It was one of those extremely physically demanding roles and it is clear that all these young actresses also had to be at least good gymnasts in order to perform all the stunts needed for the film. He filmed Grappe “Olga” in a realistic, almost documentary style, and Budiashkina did a great job of portraying the role of a girl who pushes her body to extremes and beyond every day, while she falls apart and can’t explain to anyone what’s really going on with her. .
Tension is constantly being felt, a tension that will intensify further when Olga realizes that she would have to renounce Ukrainian citizenship if she wants to be Swiss and play for the Swiss national team. Although she was the best gymnast in Ukraine, now she has to prove herself to everyone again. And the coaches, but also their colleagues from the national team who initially see more intruders in it, someone who came to take one of them a place in the national team. It was this impressive drama and a Swiss Oscar nominee, and although “Olga” failed to enter the circle of nominees, it definitely enters my wider circle of best films of the year. Rating 8.5 / 10.
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