Arts & Entertainment

Firebird – A Military LGBTQI Love Story


Sergey (Tom Prior) & Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii)

Based on a true story, Firebird is a meticulously researched and produced film about two young men on a military base in Soviet-occupied Estonia in the late 1970s. Sergey (Tom Prior) is a private just weeks away from discharge; Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii) is an officer and pilot, newly assigned to the base. Their attraction is almost immediate, unfolding with a tender intimacy which is beautifully, painfully naïve to the realities of their society – both military and civilian.

Screening in Australia for one day only (May 17) as part of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), Firebird feels like a film for the ages, but also of the times. In one sense it is a timeless love story, even including references the Tchaikovsky ballet of the same name and Shakespeare, without pretension. It’s part of how Sergey and Roman fall in love, as Roman, slightly older, guides and encourages his lover. They both have an interest in photography, which spurs their first private encounter.

It is also a film of the times. Spanning from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, this is unavoidably a tale of military and political aggression and how those ethos – and hierarchy – specifically influence armed forces. This is true of all nations, of course, but there seems to be a new Cold War brewing, and with it so many foreseeable consequences.

Co-writers Peeter Rabine (Director) and Prior (Sergey) had the chance to meet with the memoir’s author, Sergey Fetisov, before his death in 2017. They bring a richly deep portrait of the time and the love. The credits include two poetry consultants. That’s probably all you really need to know. Poetry Consultants.


Firebird will be screening at Dendy Newtown for one night only on May 17. Tickets & Info:

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