Screened as part of NZIFF 2001
Love is not unequivocal, it is experienced by everyone in different ways at each moment in life. But it is always intense, it brings beauty, joy and sorrow. Few are able to portray that as strikingly as documentary-maker Victor Kossakovsky. He demonstrates this with his trilogy I Loved You, about the relationships between two old people, two newly-weds and two children. The thread linking the three independent love stories is formed by songs sung by Ivan Kozlovski to lyrics by Alexander Pushkin, about trust, love and broken hearts. The first part, Pavel and Lyalya (A Jerusalem Romance) is the moving story of Lyalya who tends her fatally ill husband Pavel in a cheerfully matter of fact way with endless patience. In Sergei and Natasha (A Provincial Love Story), the wedding day of two lovers is filmed. They have chosen each other despite their sceptical families. Sasha and Katya (First Romance) is a dramatic jewel about love, treachery and heart-rending sorrow at the infant school.
The images are of simple and impressive beauty. Kossakovsky has a sharp eye for the non-verbal expressions of the deepest emotions. He looks with so much love and commitment that there is never any question of voyeurism. His involvement is sometimes very explicit: twice the director bursts out crying behind his camera. However, maybe he is not crying, but there are, as Katya says, "falling tears". — Rotterdam Film Festival 2001