In Petrol, the follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Strange Colours, Russian-born, Australian filmmaker Alena Lodkina creates an enigmatic, wholly original magical coming-of-age story that doubles up as an existential mystery.

Eva, an impressionable film student of Russian background, befriends an enigmatic performance artist named Mia who quickly takes hold of Eva’s imagination. As Eva moves in with Mia and their lives grow more and more entwined, Eva sets off on a surreal journey of awakening, haunted by dreams, fantasies and ghosts.  Starring the exciting new talents Nathalie Morris and Hannah Lynch, set in contemporary Melbourne, Petrol is the story of a haunted friendship between two young women, and the discovery of the world and self through a strange bond.

The New Yorker’s film critic Richard Brody singled out Petrol as a standout at New Directors/ New Films Festival 2023 held by Film at Lincoln Centre and MoMA.

“Its ambiguities and its quizzical open-endedness is an open door to the cinematic future; I hope that it gets a regular commercial release, and I’m impatient for whatever Lodkina will do next.”

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Alternately whimsical and unsettling, Petrol is an entirely original vision, a film of moods as fluctuating as the weather, and a magical coming-of-age story that is also perhaps the tale of a haunting.”

New Directors/ New Films 2023

“…at the borders of fantasy, realism, abstraction, and play.

Julia Gunnison, Screen Slate

“… an enchanting inquiry into performance, creativity, and the struggles of collaboration.”

Jordan Raup, The Film Stage



Nova Cinema, Carlton. Q&A with Alena Lodkina.

The Pivotonian Cinema, Geelong. Q&A with Alena Lodkina



Golden Age, Sydney.

Golden Age, Sydney. Q&A with Alena Lodkina.

UTS. In Conversation with Alena Lodkina – event only.

The Ritz, Randwick. Q&A with Alena Lodkina and Nathalie Morris, Moderated by Samantha Lang.


MIFF, Melbourne


Luna, Leederville

Cinefest Oz


Container, Brisbane

New Farm Cinema, Brisbane


The Arc, Canberra. Q&A with Alena Lodkina and Nathalie Morris.


New York

New York