Over the weekend I watched the documentary “Over the Limit” about gold medal winning Olympic rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun. This is a good sports movie and I recommend it. It is in Russian with no subtitles or voice overs. The film is an hour and fourteen minutes long and I didn’t understand a word except for a scene where Rita’s family sang “Happy Birthday”. The film was engaging and easy to understand despite the language barrier. I think not understanding what anyone is saying may have made the film more intense.
The thing I appreciate most about “Over the Limit” is that the subjects of the film had no discernible awareness of the camera. The audience observes Rita, her coaches and other people in her life as if we are flies on the wall. Watching Rita’s dedication to her sport takes the audience through a range of emotions. Throughout the film we admire Margarita and at times we felt bad for her. Her coaches are very stern and stoic. It’s hard to judge the coaches since I am not of the Russian culture or an athlete but at times they seem borderline abusive.
Margarita is surrounded by coaches, team mates, fans, a seemingly loving family and a dreamboat boyfriend who is an Olympic swimmer yet her journey was lonely. The visuals or the film are stark. It takes place in Moscow. Rita spends all of her time in the film in small apartments and gyms.
She competes in a solitary sport and she spends much of her time outside of the gym alone in her quiet apartment preparing her props for practice and competition. At times Rita seemed distant from her coaches while having conversations with them and looking into their eyes. The most warmth in the film comes from her relationship with her boyfriend who is now her husband.
If you get the opportunity check out “Over the Limit”. It’s a good sports movie. It’s fairly quick, interesting and enjoyable even if you are not a Russian speaker.