Nina Gontcharova

Nina Gontcharova

Screen Time: 100%
Role: Liouba
Age: 6 years old



Rating: 7.7 (7 votes)
Directed: Rolan Bykov
Country: Russia
Language: Russian
Genre: Drama, Short


English: The 6 year Liouba gets physically and mentally abused by her alcoholic mother. Desperately she seeks shelter in the nearby woods, where she hid her doll Macha and her teddy, Micha. Partly to endure, partly to absorb the despair of her childhood, in her hiding she reenacts the atrocities she encountered in her own family life. The toys undergo beating, mutilation and verbal and sexual abuse, to end up, ripped apart, in a river. When Liouba hears her mother shouting again, she throws herself off a cliff, to resurrect and fly away with the white doves, over the meadows.

German: Die 6-jährige Liouba wird von ihrer betrunkenen Mutter geschlagen. Weinend läuft sie in den nahen Wald. Dort hat sie ihre Puppe Macha und ihren Teddy Micha versteckt, ihre einzigen Vertrauten. Nach anfänglichem liebevollem Umgang mit ihren Spielgefährten kommt es zu einem Streit. Sie schlägt Micha gegen einen Baum, wirft ihn in den Bach, trampelt auf ihm herum und traktiert ihn mit einem Stein. Plötzlich fängt sie an zu weinen, als wenn ihr bewusst geworden wäre, was sie getan hat. Sie beerdigt Micha am Steilufer des Flusses. Als sie aber ihre Mutter nach ihr rufen hört, stürzt sie sich die Klippe hinunter, erhebt sich daraufhin vogelgleich und schwebt mit den weißen Tauben über die Landschaft hinweg.


Movie Reviews

This short film ends with these words:

Hundreds of millions of
children are beaten,
abandoned and have
never been loved.

It was part of a series of films "Comment vont ls enfants?", entirely funded by Unicef, and distributed along educational channels. It has not been released on DVD. The IMDb record of this series is wrong about two things: 1. Liouba is a girl, not a boy - and 2. The year of production is 1990 instead of 1993.

This is the most shocking cinematic experience I had when I was young. It's told so dramatically, hysterically and raw, it will make you cry. How director Rolan Bykov has worked to get this girl to play so wonderfully genuine is a mystery, and it brings back memories of Ponette, and makes Pápás y Mamas looks bleak. [Bykov was first with this production and Pápás y Mamas has so many similarities, that it makes you wonder if it isn't plagiarism - then again I have no proof of such thing].

This is a rare little gem. Because there's a lot of dirty language in it (let's hope you don't understand Russian) and even some nudity - it would be bound to be rejected by official rating institutes nowadays.

Make no mistake though: the message is clear:
love and respect your children.