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Film / Slave of Love

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Slave of Love is a 1976 film by Nikita Mikhalkov, starring Elena Solovey.

Olga Voznesenskaya is a silent screen star whose pictures are so popular that underground revolutionaries risk capture to see them. She's in southern Russia filming a tear-jerker in the waning days of the Russian Civil War, as the Bolsheviks are closing in on the Crimea. Although married, she spends time every day with Victor Pototsky, the film's cameraman. Gradually, it comes to light that Victor uses his job as a cover for filming White atrocities and Red heroism: he's a Bolshevik. He asks her for help, and she discovers meaning in her otherwise flighty and self-centered life. Love blooms. Will the Red forces arrive in time to save them from a suspicious White military leader? Will she find courage?

Eduard Artemyev composed the score.


  • Anguished Declaration of Love: A nervous, stressed-out Olga finally gasps out that she loves Victor, and that they can be together if he will only wait a little while.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Olga has a lot of problems lighting and smoking a cigarette while meeting with Pototsky after finding out what he's up to.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Bolshevik raid on the film studio is in black and white.
  • Dirty Coward: Olga accuses one of the local underground commnuists of this after he refuses to acknowledge her following Pototsky's murder. In fact he's just laying low, and leads the Bolshevik raid on the Whites shortly thereafter.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Pototsky has a habit of careening onto sidewalks and such when driving the production company's car.
  • The Ghost: Maksakov, the lead actor in Olga's troupe, who has elected to stay behind in Moscow and join the Bolsheviks. Olga resents him for this.
  • Humans Are Bastards: "Gentlemen, you are beasts!". Said by Olga to the White soldiers who are chasing after her and surely are about to kill her.
  • Ominous Fog: Commented on by the trolley driver, as he drives Olga into the fog. Sure enough, instead of driving her to safety in the town, he jumps off the trolley and betrays her to some White cavalrymen.
  • One-Woman Wail: From Olga as Pototsky is getting filled full of lead in the square.
  • Scenery Porn: The Crimea sure does look pretty.
  • State Sec: The local White militia, led by Fedotov. Fedotov gets less jovial and more menacing as the situation elsewhere deteriorates for the Whites.
  • True Art Is Angsty: In-Universe from Olga's director, who after hearing that Olga plans to go back to Moscow expresses guilt over the cheesy melodramas tha the makes.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: A real silent-film actress named Vera Kholodnaya who relocated to the Crimea after the Bolsheviks took power in Moscow, and died in January 1919, probably of The Spanish Flu, but believed by some to have been murdered.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Pototsky and the Bolsheviks believe this of the Whites. And it was true, in a sense at least. The atrocities of the Bolsheviks were quite well known in the West, the murder of the tsar and his family being most infamous. Meanwhile the White Russian forces were just as bad (they loved to kill Jews), but this was not as well reported.
  • While Rome Burns: The members of Olga's troupe are quite aware that things are going badly for the White Russian forces and that their days numbered, but they continue making their sappy melodrama nonetheless. A little historical context is useful here—in Real Life, the Crimea was the last holdout for the White Russians, who controlled it for a while after the White forces under Denikin and Kolchak elsewhere had been crushed.