Synopsis by Mark Deming
Forbidden love brings both happiness and tension to two people in this domestic drama. Ilya (Mikhail Porechenkov) and Nina (Anna Mikhalkova) are two people edging into middle age who have made successful careers for themselves in "the New Russia" -- Ilya runs a profitable business in Moscow, while Nina edits a magazine based in St. Petersburg. Ilya and Nina are also married, but not to each other -- while they've been having an affair for several years, Ilya isn't willing to leave his wife Masha (Nastya Seglia), while Nina doesn't want to break things off with her husband Nikita (Dmitry Shevchenko). Instead, Ilya and Nina meet as often as possible on the neutral ground of an inexpensive hotel, and while they clearly enjoy their sexual relationship, they also seem to find an emotional succor in one another they don't get from their spouses. The couple takes great pains to keep their romance a secret from their partners, but with the passage of time the emotion drain of living double lives takes a toll on Ilya and Nina, as well as their mates. Svyaz (aka Relations) was the first feature for director and screenwriter Avdotia Smirnova.