Calls from Moscow is the beautifully muted, melancholy debut feature by Cuban filmmaker Luis Alejandro Yero. Shot in the winter of 2021–22, on the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the film is set almost entirely within an austere Moscow flat—only occasionally punctuated by exterior shots revealing the blustery, frigid cityscape. Inside, the space is inhabited by four queer Cubans, whose cultural alienation by nature of their sexuality and foreignness is here compounded by sub-zero temperatures and the spectre of war. Throughout, however, the sense of isolation is balanced by tenuous forms of contact, as the inhabitants chat with friends abroad, work in customer service support, sort out daily needs or lip-sync for Instagram. Deceptively simple in both premise and execution—yet guided by precise and artful pacing, composition and sound—the film’s seeming ascetism and understatement gradually reveal a cumulative, unexpectedly cinematic, and deeply moving reflection on migration and belonging. Jesse Cumming
Streaming online May 5-9. Streaming is only available in Canada.