The Inguri River forms a natural border dividing Georgia from Abkhazia. Tensions between the two nations have not abated since the war of 1992–93. Every spring, the river brings fertile soil from the Caucasus down to the plains of Abkhazia and northwestern Georgia, creating tiny islands. The islands are havens for wildlife and occasionally also for local peasants who find them perfect for the cultivation of a crop to supplement their income.
This long-awaited, fable-like drama from writer-director Ovashvili (The Other Bank, VIFF 08) captures the inexorable cycle of life in this harsh place. One such cycle begins when an old Abkhaz farmer sets foot on one of the islands. The man builds a hut for himself and his teenage granddaughter. He ploughs the earth and they sow what is soon to become a truly amazing corn crop. As his granddaughter blossoms into womanhood and the corn ripens, border patrol boats from the two nations frequently pass, reminding us and them of the dangers of cultivating in no-man’s land. Before long, the girl finds a wounded Georgian soldier hiding among the stalks… Continue reading