Georgia

Aleqsandre Rekhviashvili – Gza shinisaken AKA The Way Home (1981)

The film is set in southern Georgia, which until the end of XIX century was dominated by
the Ottoman Empire. Tragic times gave rise to people of high spiritual strength, such as
Antimoz Iverieli – the philosopher-educator. Having experienced as a child cruelty and
injustice, it becomes the path of public service. Having been removed by the Turks in
Romania, a hero by all means wants to return home. Sentenced to death, Antimoz
remains in the memory of his countrymen a champion of justice. Read More »

Mariam Khatchvani – Dede (2017)

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Based on true events that took place at the outset of the Georgian Civil War, Dede takes place in the high mountainous community of Svaneti, where there live a people far removed from the modern world. A purely patriarchal society that revolves around forced marriages, pride and tradition dictate the code of daily life. Dina is a young woman promised by her draconian grandfather to David, one of the soldiers returning from the war. Once a marriage arrangement is brokered by two families, failure to follow through on the commitment is unthinkable. Read More »

Nikoloz Sanishvili – Chermeni AKA Chermen (1970)

The film’s main hero is Chermen. An illegitimate son, Chermen is striving to assert his dignity. He is opposed by Dacco, the elder of the Aldar clan, in whose village Chermen lives. Guided by mercenary motives, Dacco strikes a deal with Prince Tsarai. Together, they rob people and then divide the loot between themselves.
By some chance, Chermen learns of the deal and informs his friends about it. At first, he thinks that no one in the Aldar village would believe him, the bastard, and that the plot would remain unexposed. But the friends accept the challenge. Read More »

Sergei Parajanov – Pervyy paren aka The First Lad (1959)

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A gem from Paradjanov’s early oeuvre is a musical agitation film or a romantic comedy, made by the young director under the guidance of Alexander Dovzhenko and set in the immense fields of the collectivised Ukraine. The social realism is replaced by colourful, convivial and dancing shots of the “Pabieda” (Victory) kolkhoz, where peasant women sing in the fields, and boys march with banners glorifying revolution. Against this backdrop, intense romantic feelings have reached a climactic stage; tailor Sidor Sidorovich, farmer Jushka and soldier Danila Petrovich all dote on the fair-haired Odarka. It is Jushka and Danila who engage in overt hostility; the initial “gentlemen’s” contest turns into an outright confrontation, resulting in miserable Jushka being increasingly more desperate and scorned by the villagers. Read More »

Tengiz Abuladze – Vedreba AKA The Plea (1967)

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comment from imdb

A masterpiece that demands detailed study

It’s like Bergman and Kurosawa went to Georgia and decided to do Shakespeare together in the mountains. I’ve seen this film several times and there’s much I still haven’t grasped. It’s not an intellectual problem, but a cultural one…VEDREBA seems so deeply embedded in Georgian history that it’s nearly impossible for an outsider to find a way in.

The film is based entirely on the poetry of Vazha Pshavela, and I believe every line of “dialogue” is lifted directly from his poems. From what I can gather, the “story” concerns a soldier who, after feeling guilty about killing an enemy, becomes an outcast from whatever group he belongs to, then has visitations from both God and the devil who give him visions of the future (or perhaps one possible future). A full understanding of the film would seem to require knowledge of all the different groups of people living in the mountains of ancient Georgia, as well as a basic grasp of several various rituals. For instance, I have no idea what the significance of the main character beheading another man’s bull was, nor do I understand why, when said bull-owner calls for the lead to be killed, several other people began extinguishing candles in bowls of sheep’s blood.
Read More »

Aleqsandre Rekhviashvili – XIX saukunis qartuli qronika AKA The 19th Century Georgian Chronicle (1979)

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The debut film by Alexander Rekhviashvili, one of the leaders of the new wave’s first flow, Georgian Chronicle of the 19th Century (Gruzinskaya hronika XIX veka, 1979), places us in a Kafkaesque city where a lonely student goes through all the circles of bureaucratic hell to help the peasants of his home village win back their land from bourgeois industrialists. The distorted urban sets in the Chronicle remind one of German expressionism and Caligari. The horrifyingly circular structure of the narrative, the morose suspense of the slow-paced action, the atmosphere of silent torture in a vacuum, bring to mind Orson Welles’s The Trial. The long sequence in the forest where two assassins chase the student and finally eliminate him, leaving the rest of the film without a hero, is obviously influenced by Kurosawa’s Rashomon. What is harder to find in Georgian Chronicle is the influence of Rekhviashvili’s native predecessors in the Georgian school. Read More »

Sergei Parajanov & Dodo Abashidze – Ashug-Karibi aka The Hoary Legends of the Caucasus (1988)

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Synopsis: Wandering minstrel Ashik Kerib falls in love with a rich merchant’s daughter, but is spurned by her father and forced to roam the world for a thousand and one nights – but not before he’s got the daughter to promise not to marry till his return. It’s told in typical Paradjanov style overlaid with Armenian folksongs. source Read More »