Date: June 2019
Team: Ksenia Ratushnaya, Danya Bashta, Yuri Sokolov, Bob Farber, Nikita Tomilin
Our aim was to create Russia’s first transgender film.
Ksenia Ratushnaya wrote, produced and directed her feature debut OUTLAW with the help of Chibis Production. OUTLAW had its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival on November 25, 2019, and its U.S. premiere - at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 21, 2020. OUTLAW took three awards (best cameraman, best musical design and the best Russian début) at the Russian festival Spirit of Fire 2020.
OUTLAW tells the story of a gay teen Nikita (Viktor Tarasenko), who is in love with the most popular boy in his school (Gleb Kalyuzhnyy). Rebellious outlaw (Elizaveta Kashintseva), to whom anything appears to be permissible, watches on as their relationship develops. Simultaneously, we follow the tragic love story of a transgender dancer Nina (Evgeny Shwartzman) and a Soviet general (Vitaly Kudryavtsev), set in 1985.
Antipode Sales & Distribution handle international sales for OUTLAW. Feel free to contact them for any information regarding the film.
Outlaw is bold, ambitious and naïve at the same time, even somewhat amateurish, but this does not spoil it. Of course, it is pure joy for fans of quotes, charades, and remote associations. It has a Wikipedia-based discussion of Plato’s Symposium (in today’s Russia, the philosopher would be meted out “18+” for his “propaganda of homosexualism”), Decameron, and hints at Faust. However, the cultural wealth of the authors is slightly less remarkable than their lack of inhibitions that seems unprecedented by our Russian standards. It is a free film, and its recklessness seems to render less solid the concrete labyrinth where the characters of the Outlaw are wandering. Just poke it with your finger, and it will fall apart, as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin once said. – Vasiliy Stepanov, Seance
For modern high school students, Outlaw could become a film of the generation, just like Assa was for those who lived in the time of the perestroika…Ratushnaya sure has genius; her genius has already manifested itself to its utmost in this unstoppable, all-conquering cheekiness. Think of it as of her Chien Andalou: it was made in 1928, therefore, she still has as much as 45 years to devote to the delights of comprehending the film language. – Alexey Vasilyev, Kinochannel
Not a crime in itself, but it not enough to have a pure intention to film boldly and sharply – sharply as the actor Kalyuzhnyy’s cheekbones. If we employ the well-known amateurish dichotomy that divides film directors into exhibitionists and voyeurists, Ratushnaya is definitely an exhibitionist. But at the same time, she is so shy when she shows her vision of a mephedrone turbo stay-over party where she would probably not be welcomed that she seems voyeuristic in relation to the fantasy she generated, as if the bashful director spied upon her own sexuality through a small peephole. Russia needs to be kicked in the face. But you have to swing harder. – Egor Belikov, Iskusstvo Kino
However, one does not have the heart to say that Outlaw is a slap in the face of the public, a flick on the nose of the boomers, a protest against the system, or an attempt to make a loud statement: the film is too vulnerable for this. It is made about one’s own folk and for one’s own folk, it tells about the search for love and understanding, about the wish to be accepted and not broken, about the desire to emancipate from the parental control, the army and the priests, representing the church and the authorities who wish to crush and subjugate all the living things. It is not known whether the film will be shown in cinemas (the distribution certificate has been obtained), but young people will somehow watch and accept it because almost nobody speaks to them in their own language. – Ekaterina Vizgalova, Kino-teatr