Over the Limit reveals the torturous physical and mental toil behind the graceful beauty of high-level gymnastics. Documentary filmmaker Marta Prus follows Russian rhythmic gymnast Rita Mamun as she trains and competes in preparation for the 2016 Olympics. Personal time is scant, reduced to periodic rests at home and Skype sessions with her boyfriend. Mamun’s life is dominated by her sport and her coaches, Ms. Amina and Ms. Irina. Oscillating between tender and abusive dispositions, they subject her body and mind to the Russian system of athletic training: a relentless and painful (yet successful) regimen.
In the course of filming, the subject and the filmmaker undergo a remarkable fusion. Mamun does not recoil from the unremitting pressure and scrutiny; nor does director Marta Prus avert her gaze. They both understand what is required of an Olympic-caliber gymnast, and accept it with a stoic, unsentimental attitude, presenting the question for audiences’ consideration: is this what Olympic gold is worth?