Dir: Sergey Dvortsevoy. Rus-Ger-Pol-Kaz-Chi. 2018. 107mins
“The limits of empathy are tested in Ayka, a raw, intimate drama about an impoverished young Kyrgyz woman trying to survive in Moscow after abandoning her newborn. Filmmaker Sergey Dvortsevoy thrusts us into a desperate situation and then offers little relief, which effectually captures his heroine’s fraught mind-set but also, unfortunately, begins to produce diminishing dramatic returns. Samal Yeslyamova gives an enormously reserved performance, but the film’s sombre relentlessness ultimately feels programmatic rather than organic” says Tim Grierson.