»If you don’t dare, you’ll never know.«
It’s the penultimate year of school for Masha, Yana and Senia. In her multi-award-winning feature debut, Ukrainian director Kateryna Gornostai portrays a group of teenagers in Kyiv. We see them at school, at parties, hanging out – making their start in life. The silent center of the film is 16-year-old Masha – introverted, subtle and in love with aloof classmate Sasha, who challenges her with his passive behavior. The film eludes crude narratives as well as overly simple psychology. When Masha dances alone in her room at night, high above the city, somewhere in Ukraine, nothing about it seems staged. Rather, it is an invitation to the moment, the true feeling. And one to pain.
Kateryna Gornostai works with young amateur actors and actresses and succeeds in creating a radical, authentic and sensitive insight into the disturbing feeling of being young. She paints a picture of growing up in a country that was already marked by insecurity and crises at the time of production. Against the backdrop of the war that has been going on since February, the fragile and at the same time exuberant vitality of the protagonists comes so close that one wants to protect their youth with all one’s might.