Romance of Lovers

A film seen by 70 million people in the USSR, including almost everyone between the ages of 15 and 25, Romance of Lovers broke several taboos in Soviet cinema regarding nudity and sex on screen, and was passionately defended by young people against attacks from the more conservative establishment. Andron Mikhailkov-Konchalovsky received more than 6000 letters from spectators who were moved by his forthright treatment of passionate love, which the film presents as an emotional reality which exists on a separate, and possibly higher plane than the rest of day-to-day social reality in a materialistic society. As a kind of Russian Love Story, the film was made with Soviet audiences in mind, and in its first part, a lyrical treatment of a young girl and boy in love, it uses music and intimate visuals in a way that might seem overblown to non-Soviet viewers - especially as the dialogue is partly in verse, and comes across as somewhat banal in the subtitled translation. But for those who bear with it, the second part, intended to subvert the sentimentality of the first, offers many rewards and painful insights in its violent demonstration of the fact that when real love dies, a part of the lover dies too.

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