You I Love (2004)

“You will find the money for the operation, I hope.”

Successful Moscow advertising executive Timofei (Evgeny Koryakovsky) has an intense relationship with sexy newscaster Vera (Lyubov Tolkalina). They seem the perfect couple, but one day, Timofei is driving home when the hapless Uloomji (Damir Badmaev) tumbles into his path. Timofie takes the homeless Uloomji back to his fantastic flat for the night–with the plan that Uloomji will leave the next morning. But before long, Timofie and Uloomji are engaged in an affair that compels Uloomji’s Moscow relatives to ‘rescue’ him.

At first glance, the Russian comedy, You, I Love–co directed by Olga Stolpovskaja and Dmitry Troitsky–may seem to be a rather confused tale. While it starts as a romance, it veers over to comedy as the naive Uloomji wrecks Timofie’s comfortable life. Then the plot flirts with the notion of a love triangle between the three main characters, but transfers to the comedic efforts of Uloomji’s concerned relatives who can’t handle the idea that anyone in their family might be gay. Ultimately You, I Love is a metaphor for the tangled identities of the new capitalist citizens of Russia. While Timofie and Vera are portrayed as successful, young Muscovites (he has a fantastic apartment–she’s continually stuffing herself), Mongolian reindeer keeper Uloomji’s down-to-earth fresh attitude shakes the pair from the fragile veneer of their capitalist identities. And just what is left when the film concludes is most of the fun. Although the film includes some tricky cinematography, the plot lags at certain moments, and Uloomji’s cretinous behaviour is grating. Nonetheless Russophiles should enjoy this glimpse at Moscow life–and note the changes in Russian cinema. In Russian with English subtitles.

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