This intimate glimpse at two teenage girls in a Moscow locker room is a simple but rich exploration of burgeoning sexuality and a search for expression and feeling. Perhaps an ode to resisting conformity and finding your own way, particularly resonant given the setting is a cavernous post-Soviet swimming pool.
Alice can’t help but steal some glances at her teammate while she changes, catching flashes of skin, reflected in searching close-ups. The teammate is busy on her phone, giddily juggling possible boyfriends. In contrast with the demure Alice, she is all smiles and confidence, despite the fact that the boys texting her might only be interested in stealing schoolwork from her. When the subject of kissing arises, Alice makes a spontaneous move that alters their relationship.
Director Nadia Bedzhanova is an assured talent. Her photographs and short films beautifully capture unsettled young people looking to fight their way out of society’s tame clutches. There’s something to be said for objective filmmaking but Bedzhanova nails the opposite approach. She’s at one with her subjects, penetrating deep with a sensitive touch. (9 minutes) Directed by Nadia Bedzhanova. Starring Maria Fomina and Ekaterina Ageeva. Produced by Katerina Polojentseva. D.P. Andrey Krauzov.