Repentance (Pokayaniye) features Avtandil Makharadze in a dual role. As Georgian mayor Varlam Aravidze, Makharadze is a strutting, arbitrarily cruel dictator, something of a composite Stalin and Hitler. Visually he very closely resembles Lavrentiy Beriya, Stalin’s right hander and one-time KGB chief. As Abel, the mayor’s son, Makharadze finds himself in the middle of an ideological squabble when his father dies. Zeinab Botsvadze, a local woman who had suffered mightily under the mayor’s regime, refuses to allow the old man’s corpse to be interred. Despite the son’s Herculean efforts, Botsvadze continues digging up the late mayor’s body, a symbolic gesture to prevent the dead man’s villainy from being forgotten. Repentance was the first Soviet film that openly denounced the horrors of Stalinism, though the Georgian director Tengiz Abuladze (known for his poetic and surrealist films) chose to make it allegorical, deliberately using anachronisms and making the leading character look like a combination of Stalin’s henchman Lavrenti Beriya, Hitler, and Mussolini. An interesting point — the last name chosen for the leading character is totally fictional, there is no such name as Aravidze in Georgia. In fact, “aravi” means “nobody” in Georgian. The filmmakers opted for such a name in order not to offend any real person in the Republic of Georgia. Filmed in 1984, Repentance fell victim to Soviet censorship from the moment it left the editing room. When it was finally released in 1987, the film was deservedly garlanded with several awards, including the Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Prize.
ial turn this film into a searing allegory of the brutal repressions, and heroic sacrifices, of the country’s Stalinist era—–by Hal Erickson Continue reading
Clarke Fountain @ allmovie wrote:
Poetry, vivid imagery and allegory mark the nearly two-dozen episodes of this epic tale about human life and its troubles, set in the Georgian village of Kachetien near the turn of the century. Many vividly drawn and eccentric village characters are portrayed, from simpletons to fortune-tellers, and their dreams reveal what each would consider to be happiness in this life. The well-regarded director of this film, Tengiz Abuladze, was known for his visually sophisticated and symbolically rich works. The Wishing Tree is the second film in a Georgian trilogy by Abuladze: the first, released in 1969, was Encounter, about the primitivist artist Nikos Piosmani the last, released in 1987, is known as Repentance. Continue reading
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.
Three guys are living in a Dagestan aul, and all three are in love with the blue-eyed Serminaz. According to a mountaineers’ tradition, a young man seeking the hand and the heart of a beloved girl has to make her a present that she would remember for the rest of her life. The friends set out in search of the special gift… Continue reading