I Love / Ya liubliu




Ukrainian SSR




70 min


Leonid Lukov


Oleksandr Avdieienko


Ivan Shekker


Aleksandr Chistiakov, Ivan Chuvelev, Daniil Vvedenskii, Vladimir Gardin, Nataliia Uzhvii

Long ago, Ostap’s father left the impoverished village to seek work in Donbas, thus beginning the mining village of Sobacheivka with a house he built. Following in his father’s footsteps, Ostap also labored for thirty years for a mine owner. However, when his father lost his job, Ostap realized that blaming only the bosses for his life troubles was futile. After an encounter with the worker-revolutionary Harbuz (Oleksandr Antonov), he emerges as a leader within the revolutionary movement among Donbas miners.

The screen adaptation of the biographical novel of the same name by Oleksandr Avdieienko made a significant impact on the cultural life of the Soviet Union. It also stands as one of the finest works by Mariupol native and director, Leonid Lukov, often referred to as the bard of Donbas. Lukov’s connection to Donbas is evident in at least five of his films set there, and among them, I Love shines particularly bright.

The film distinguishes itself with an unconventional fairy-tale-like tone, mood, and a genuine novelistic structure. The exceptional production design by Morits Umanskyi, who would later craft the expressive sets for Mark Donskoi’s The Invincibles (a director highly esteemed by Lukov), significantly contributed to the film’s visual impact. The cinematography for I Love was orchestrated by Ivan Shekker, who had previously showcased the vividness of Donbas in his work, such as Ukrainian Rhapsody directed by Serhii Paradzhanov in 1961.