This is my review of the LGBTQ movie Firebird which had an international release date of April 2022.
Even though the film had its premiere at the LGBTIQ+ Film Festival in London on 17 March 2021 it didn’t hit international cinemas until 29 April 2022.
The story is based on the memoir “The Story of Roman” by Sergey Fetisov. Sergey was born in Russia in 1952 but passed away, at the age of 64, in 2017.
The movie was co-written by Peeter Rebane and Tom Prior, the latter of whom was one of the lead actors.
Firebird is about a young soldier Sergey Serebrennikov, played by Tom Prior, who has a clandestine love affair with pilot Roman Matvejev, played by Oleg Zagorodnil. They are on a Soviet Air Force Base at the height of communist rule in 1970 where same-sex relationships aren’t legal. The story follows their ups and downs of trying to be together on a more permanent basis, a story about romance versus duty.
The cast was unknown to me.
Tom Prior played Sergey Serebrennikov.
He is a British actor who was also the producer, music supervisor and screenwriter of the movie. A convincing acting performance and the movie was packaged quite nicely.
Oleg Zagorodnil played Roman Matvejev
He was born in Ukraine and from what I have heard he is back there for Russia’s invasion.
The Story was so much better for me than other LGBTQ films, it was a romantic film with the backdrop of life in the USSR and in their military. The story kept moving, with no stagnation, there was always something going on, new scenarios that would challenge the characters.
The set was convincing even though it was filmed in Estonia. Its “look and feel” did seem earlier than the 1970s that it was set, but maybe accurate for Russia, I wouldn’t know. All the apartments seemed extremely drab, something you would expect in the UK after the second world war. Maybe this is how it was back then. The ballet dancers looked very scary!
The planes that were flying looked like CGI, this was in a number of clips. Most of it was quite well done, the planes flying overhead from the beach looked a bit unconvincing but really the story was the main focus.
This was a movie without any drugs or other things that come with many LGBTQ dramas, so that is a good thing. It focused on the couple and the lives of some people around them.
It was interesting to read reviews by some Eastern European people who did say it was realistic for Russia during that time period, I guess you couldn’t ask for a better thumbs up than that. The reviews were kind of mixed, as expected, mostly good, some very low commenting as though they had never seen it. Both LGBTQ and Asian movies receive the same treatment online.
I felt for actor Oleg Zagorodnil who I believe is in Ukraine as Russia attacks his country. I’m not sure what role he is playing there but I’m assuming he can’t travel to various events related to the promotion of the film.
So, good entertainment all around, I will give it a 4 out of 5.