‘Firebird’ Review: Heartbreaking & Wrenching Gay Love Story

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A long time ago, in a far away place called New Mexico, there lived two young men, who were best friends since childhood. They both shared a love for art, music, literature, and literature. They both shared a love for music, art, literature, and literature. They both shared a love for art, music, literature, and literature. And they both shared a love for art, music, literature, and literature.

“Firebird” is the new queer rom-com drama that was released on Netflix this week and it’s already causing a lot of buzz. The film is the first feature-length movie to be directed by a queer filmmaker and stars a transgender actor in a lead role. This is the kind of story that needs to be told and it’s always a good sign when these kinds of films start to appear.


Tom Prior and Oleg Zagorodnii portray Soviet Air Force troops coping with sexual tension and professional pride in Peeter Rebane’s first film. Due to its standard structure and sterilized approach, Firebird, on the other hand, may be fascinating to the point of monotony.

Peeter Rebane, an Estonian filmmaker, first met Sergey Fetiso after reading his novel The Story of Roman, which is based on a true story. He was instantly attracted to this Cold War tale about unachievable gay love. He collaborated on the screenplay with Tom Prior, the main actor of Firebird (The Theory of Everything). Even if it ultimately fails to unite its political background or achieve anything new with its storytelling technique, the outcome is a wildly entertaining and brilliantly written love and loss tale.

Sergey (Tom Prior) is counting down the days until he can leave his Soviet Air Force base and follow his ambition of becoming a Moscow actor. Until then, he’ll have to put up with grueling exercises at his barracks, reminiscent of scenes from Full Metal Jacket, as well as muddy, depressing training sessions. That is, until Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii), a sensitive and unbearably beautiful lieutenant who shares his love of literature and theater, arrives. Their love affair takes off fast once the spark ignites, but with obvious dangers waiting around every corner, their relationship can only last so long until it implodes. Luisa (Diana Pozharskaya), a naive secretary who has feelings for both men, gets caught in the crossfire.


Rebane has kept a close eye on the troika’s difficulties throughout the years and in various locations. Perhaps just relocating a well-known love story won’t be enough for others; at times, it seems like the film misses an opportunity to go deeper into its setting and be more philosophical about how prejudice affects LGBT children’s mental health. Firebird ultimately abandons politics in favor of concentrating on love, despite the fact that gay love is inherently political and should be treated as such, especially in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Perhaps not every photograph needs to reinvent the wheel, but it would be dishonest to say that what I saw did not interest and move me.

A meet, a romance, a difficulty, a tragedy, and a recovery are all there in Firebird. Despite this, the film is very watchable. Zagorodnii and Prior have electric chemistry, and their snatched glances through dark lashes add to the tense atmosphere. With Zagarodnii’s Clark Kent-like good looks, it’s hard not to swoon with Sergey as their bond crystallizes, much like the photos they take together in darker locations.

Beauty and intensity frame every strong muscle, passionate gaze, and scorching kiss. The cinematography of Mait Mäekivi gives each image a vibrant aesthetic: the symmetry of the poppy fields, woods, and homes is almost Wes Anderson-esque. It’s a beautiful film that captures the sweet simplicity of their initial encounter, but it may conflict with the KGB-controlled environment’s brutality and homophobia.


The image was to be “in English to reach the largest audience globally,” according to Rebane. The Russian stereotypes of vodka, party pins, and disgruntled apparatchiks, on the other hand, seemed cheap, more like a Smiffy’s dress-up of the Soviet Union than an honest effort at the actual thing. Prior seemed to be so worried about stumbling over his Russian accent that he didn’t bother to perform one half of the time.

Despite his bad wig and accent, Prior delivers a powerful performance, with his inner anguish and sexual desire colliding in dramatic, hot scenes. Pozharskaya manages to rise beyond the little character of the cuckolded wife to take on the challenging role of Luisa. Overall, Zagorodnii emerges as the leading man—a man unable to live up to his lofty status in life and work, allowing dread and desire to murder him from inside.

Firebird is undoubtedly excellent at engrossing you in its story, therefore it’s a pity it uses cliched imagery and overt profanity. A swim becomes a metaphor for fighting one’s inner turmoil—I’d never heard of it before! There is an excessive emphasis on cello-heavy music, which contributes to the sanitized sheen of an ITV Drama rather than a homosexual love story. “To be or not to be, that is the issue,” Sergey screams aloud while reading Shakespeare at one point. There’s even a “Rasputin” needle-drop that, although humorous, is a little too shocking to overlook. You can’t help but think this is a blown chance. Despite this, it’s a confident and quietly devastating debut.


There is no denying that today’s film market is extremely saturated with Oscar-worthy content. But, every once in a while, a film comes along that “pushes the envelope” and paves the way for future filmmakers to tell more realistic and authentic stories.. Read more about sergey fetisov roman and let us know what you think.

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