Bitter Love

  • Jerzy Sladkowski
  • Sweden, Finland, Poland
  • 2020
  • 87 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Masters

During a river cruise on the Volga, a group of passengers hope to escape worries, emptiness, relationships, regrets, or simply reality. As peaceful landscapes and friendly-looking Russian villages glide by, both young and old struggle with love and high expectations.

Most of the people on board are traveling alone, yet they treat each other like old friends, lovers, or mother and daughter. Within the privacy of the ship and in the knowledge that they will all soon be going their own way again, the heartwarming, sometimes rather melancholic passengers are extraordinarily unafraid to let down their defenses. They seem hardly aware of the camera.

The observational style produces telling scenes. For example, in some of the elderly people we see mixed feelings on faces marked by age as they gaze out of the window at energetic young people dancing or exercising on the deck. The performances of a young opera singer and her boyfriend, and the vodka-soaked, poetic songs of a retired passenger with a broken heart provide moments of contemplation.


  • 87 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Russian
  • Subtitles in: English
Jerzy Sladkowski
Antonio Russo Merenda / Ginestra Film
Wojciech Staron
Jakub Sladkowski
Involved TV Channel

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