75 min,

52 min


Love Is Not an Orange

Directing: Otilia Babara


After 16 years of working abroad, Olimpia has returned home for good. She is eager to be close to her daughter Victoria again and catch up on all the years of estrangement.

Olimpia was one of the many mothers who left Moldova in search of a better future for her family. She left when Victoria was 15 and, because of her illegal status, she was unable to return home for years. In these circumstances they found a peculiar way of communicating: exchanging boxes, which they filled with sweets, clothes and other gifts. This gesture became a ritual among many families. By replacing their presence with material goods, these mothers were trying to make their absence less painful.

Victoria received the first boxes with great enthusiasm. She recalls the moment she opened a box that contained nothing but oranges. However, after a few years, the joy turned into resentment, as none of the objects could replace her mother’s presence. Her house looked like a store, but her heart was empty. She held on to a blouse with her mother's scent.

After sixteen years of living apart, Olimpia and Victoria now share the same house with completely different habits, family routine and expectations. Victoria grew up lacking the comfort of a solid family, which later she created for herself. While working in Greece, Olimpia constructed a nostalgic image of home and of a warm re-encounter with Victoria. Today Olimpia doesn’t seem to find her place, neither in her daughter’s world, nor in the current reality of the country. She is sleeping in the living room surrounded by boxes and unpacked suitcases.

After two years of trying to live with her family again, Olimpia still feels like a guest. The idea of going abroad again appears as an escape for her and a relief for Victoria. Olimpia leaves for Cyprus and the ritual of sending boxes resumes and acquires a different significance. The main recipient of all the objects is now Smaranda, her granddaughter.
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