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Firebird - Film Review

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by Jen (subscribe)
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Published May 6th 2022
Love is love
firebird film review, cinema, date night, night life, movie lovers, cinema buffs, performing arts, actors, director peeter rebane, tom prior, oleg zagorodnii, diana pozharskaya, firebird production, rialto distribution, movie review
Images © Factory, No Reservations Entertainment, Film Estonia, Firebird Production

Firebird is Directed by Peeter Rebane and stars Tom Prior who was also co-writer and producer, Oleg Zagorodnii, Diana Pozharskaya, Margus Prangel, Jake Thomas Henderson and Nicholas Woodeson. With a run time of 107 mins, the film is R Rated. Screening only on Tuesday May 17 2022 at select locations in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide & Hobart, it celebrates International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Based on a true story during the Cold War, Firebird is a passionate love story set against the backdrop of an Air Force base in occupied Estonia during late 1970s Communist rule. Sergey (Tom Prior), a soulful, young soldier who dreams of becoming an actor in Moscow, is counting the days until his military service ends.


His life is turned upside down when he locks eyes with Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii), a sexy, enigmatic ace fighter pilot newly assigned to his base. Driven by their undeniable attraction, Sergey and Roman navigate the precarious line between love and friendship at a time when Soviet men in uniform caught having a sexual affair were met with the severest punishment. As their friendship grows into love, the men risk their freedom and their lives to be together in the face of an all-seeing Communist regime.

Set in occupied Estonia in 1977, this is an intimate and powerful true story, and very new and unique in that it's a film about forbidden love in the Soviet military. It was a time you could not speak or confide in anyone, especially about your sexual preferences. Everyone was watching. You feared not just the KGB, but fear of those living around you, your neighbours and friends. It's also a very relevant film and very identifiable because to date - basic human rights, equality and freedom are once again under attack around the world. Same sex families are still illegal or discriminated against in many countries.


However, this is not a film about politics. It's about three people living their lives in an authoritarian, hostile society, trying to find love despite having the odds stacked against them. All three individuals are given an equally important voice in this film, to express what it was like living in a society ruled by fear. This atmosphere heightened the drama of Roman and Sergey's forbidden love story. It deserves its rating as a romance thriller because at many a moment this heightened atmosphere and dramatic tension were cleverly crafted and orchestrated and you had your heart in your mouth for fear of discovery at every turn. It made you emotionally connected and invested in this love story.

It was sweeping and achingly beautiful and felt no different than any other great, forbidden love story. If it set out to help people understand others who are different from them, to realise that love is love, and no less meaningful than any other love, it succeeded. The cinematography was breathtaking in some scenes and very atmospheric in others, which only added to the tension and atmosphere of the film. Though R rated, everything was tastefully done and there was nothing crass, crude or vulgar about any scene unless you cannot handle seeing same sex partners in a loving, sexual relationship.


The actors were perfect in their roles and displayed a real connection to each other that was very believable. Sergey was young, inexperienced, enthusiastic and carefree as all youth are at his age. Roman was handsome, mature, and meticulous, knowing the consequences and repercussions. Louisa was filled with expression and came through on a gamut of emotions, and KGB agent Major Zverev was dutifully frightening under his breath. His eyes sinister and intent on discovery, representing the oppressive Soviet regime perfectly - always watching. This is a beautiful film filled with love and tension and one that should not be missed by all sexes.

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Why? Firebird (2021) - Film Review, screening for one day only in celebration of International day against homophobia, transphobia & biphobia
When: Screeing in cinemas for one day only on 17 May 2022
Where: Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart
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