Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, October 12:

Marta Prus

IDFA 2017

Select Festivals:
Hot Docs, Moscow Doc, Visions du Reél, DOK.fest Munich, DocsBarcelona, Zagreb Dox, Krakow, Docpoint, Göteborg, Thessaloniki Doc, One World, Ambulante

A brutally candid look at a rhythmic gymnast’s Olympic training.

Prus’ observational portrait focuses on Margarita Mamun, facing high expectations to win the gold medal for Russia at the 2016 Summer Olympics, her last. Subject to a rigorous training regimen, she barely is shown outside of the gym here, save for a few moments talking remotely via FaceTime to her boyfriend, another Olympian, or dealing with family matters. But fears that this would result in a dull film are quickly dismissed when Irina Viner-Usmanova the head coach of Russia’s national gymnastics program, makes her presence known. A larger-than-life figure, prone to extravagant hats, Viner-Usmanova doesn’t mince words – instead she swears, berates, and verbally uses her young athletes to a shocking degree, and, here, Mamun seems to take the brunt. Her unrelenting abuse is tempered to some degree by Mamun’s personal coach, Amina Zaripova, but it’s clear that the young gymnast is miserable, but still she perseveres. Though not always an easy watch, Prus’ well-constructed film offers a provocative inside look at the pressures facing a world-class athlete and questions if it’s all worth it in the end.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases

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