The Calvert Journal: “New Georgian cinema: discover a fresh generation of filmmakers reviving a national tradition“
05 August, 2017
The Calvert Journal: “New Georgian cinema: discover a fresh generation of filmmakers reviving a national tradition“
The revival of Georgian filmmaking has started that can be seen from the new wave of enthusiastic Georgian directors whose films have won a number of international awards. The Calvert Journal, a London-based online guide to the contemporary culture of the New East has devoted a special article to modern Georgian cinematography and their distinguished representatives.

The award-winning films by Georgian directors and their great success at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the prestigious Czech festival held from June
30-July 8, is the main topic of the magazine's report.

The Journal's Carmen Gray spoke to some of the filmmakers representing award-winning new cinema productions.

The feature article also reviews international success achieved by Georgian directors over the recent years by highlighting works including Tangerines by Zaza Urushadze, Mariam Khatchvani's Karlovy Vary award-winning feature Dede, and already well-known film My Happy Family by the directorial duo of Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross.

Here is what article says:

With the fall of the USSR, Georgia’s proud cinematic tradition was threatened by civil war and unrest. Carmen Gray reports from Karlovy Vary Film Festival, where recent years have seen a resurgence of talent determined to deal with the country’s recent past.

The tradition of Georgian filmmaking goes back nearly as far as the history of cinema itself, Rusudan Glurjidze reminds me as she sits smoking a cigarette in the sun outside a cafe in Karlovy Vary. The warm and eloquent director was awarded for her feature debut House of Others last year at the Czech spa town’s film festival, which is one of the oldest in the world and is the primary showcase for cinema from Central and Eastern Europe. She was back this year as a jury member, where there were again several strong Georgian films in the line-up. “We had very good directors in the past such as [Giorgi] Shengelaia and [Otar] Iosseliani, but during the collapse of the Soviet Union everything was destroyed in Georgia and of course there was no cinema at all. Now it’s starting again,” she says of this bold resurgence of talent. “The next year will be great for Georgian cinema as there are about nine new films coming, and many debuts. Our future is the young generation.”

geotv.ge
House of Others. Photo courtesy Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

The break in historical continuity that occurred after the USSR disintegrated and the nation slid into civil war was the focus of Glurjidze’s House of Others, a work of haunting poetry set in the now Russian-occupied Abkhazia region in the conflict’s aftermath. The houses of residents driven out overnight “as if they had evaporated” have been taken over by new occupants. The director, who shot the film in a real abandoned village, says this is a situation most Georgians — herself included — can relate to. “I had a summer house that I loved very much and one refugee family from Abkhazia took the house and all the things in it,” she says. “For 25 years these houses have been occupied by other people, but it’s okay — they need them more.”

Rain pelts down and birds swirl above unharvested tangerine trees in House of Others, adding to the evocative melancholy of a ghost town where women now outnumber men and reality slips through its disoriented inhabitants’ fingers. “It’s very emotional when you enter the house of someone you don’t know and start to discover them through their things. Every door has a special noise,” says Glurjidze. Her sense for visual atmosphere is part of her directing DNA, a result of Georgia’s reputation for excellent cinematography. She was, after all, a student of Giorgi Shengelaia, whose Pirosmani (1969) — a lyrical biography about primitivist painter Niko Pirosmani — is a masterpiece of striking design and coloured tableaux. “Shengelaia taught us in his own way,” says Glurjidze. “In the first year he turned off the sound and told us that if he didn’t understand our films without dialogue, they weren’t cinema.”
geotv.ge
Tangerines, dir. Zaza Urushadze (2014)

geotv.ge
In Bloom, dir. Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross


The urge to process and tell the stories of the painful 90s has underpinned a number of recent Georgian arthouse successes. In Zaza Urushadze’s Oscar-nominated anti-war drama Tangerines (2014), two ethnic Estonians who have stayed for the harvest in another deserted village in Abkhazia take in rival wounded soldiers. Similarly acclaimed is In Bloom (2013), the coming-of-age tale of two teenage girls in Tbilisi just after independence which was the feature debut of directing duo Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross. Scripted by Ekvtimishvili and based on her own memories, it depicts a society teetering on the brink of violence, where carrying a gun for protection raises few eyebrows among macho teens.

geotv.ge
Khibula, dir. George Ovashvili (2017)

This year, Khibula, George Ovashvili’s much-anticipated third film in what he calls his “trilogy on the 90s”, had its world premiere in Karlovy Vary. A mood piece of stately cinematography and a psychological rumination on the downfall of power, the film is pared down to the extent that it feels at times more like fatalistic fable than concrete biography. It portrays the final days of Georgia’s first democratically elected president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. His death in a mountain village whilst on the run in 1993 is shrouded in mystery; whether it was suicide or murder has never been conclusively determined. “I wanted to find out how this man was feeling when he understood he is losing everything; losing the illusory world which in my opinion every big leader lives in,” Ovashvili told me at the festival. “We know many different similar stories about leaders, whose nations create an idol and destroy them at the same time.” As with much Georgian cinema, communal songs and toasts punctuating meals are a prominent element, adding emotional texture. “Songs are an integral part of regular life in Georgia, which is a country of contrasts. Even when having a bad time, the Georgian response is to sing.”
geotv.ge
Dede,dir. Mariam Khatchvani (2017). Photo courtesy Karlovy Vary International Film Festival


Elsewhere, the visual majesty of the unforgiving Caucasian mountains is conveyed in a bold, idiosyncratic manner in Dede, a feature debut at Karlovy Vary that won a special jury award for its talented director Mariam Khatchvani. It was shot in the Svaneti region of northwest Georgia, where she was born. Inspired by family experiences gleaned from her grandmother, its focus is a woman (Natia Vibliani) whose determination to marry for love rather than adhering to the strict rules of the clan system inevitably sparks bloodshed. The film is in the Svan language, which Khatchvani urgently wants to preserve, and as a result has a cast almost entirely made up of non-professionals.

Khatchvani tells me the production hit a roadblock after ten days of shooting. Two of the male leads, one of whom is her husband (cinema is very much a family affair in Georgia), were arrested after an argument with a police officer, and handed disproportionate jail time of 6 months. While fighting for their release Khatchvani altered the script to accommodate their absence and restarted the shoot. “Now for my next project I am working to make a script about this system,” she says. “The police can change people’s lives because of one small accident. They changed Dede, unfortunately. But if I make a very good film about this misfortune, it will be some consolation.” In one scene in Dede, villagers gather to watch a Georgian comedy classic, Eldar Shengelaia’s dig at Soviet bureaucracy Blue Mountains, or An Unbelievable Story (1983), in which a writer struggles to have his manuscript read by publishing house employees, who fob him off at every turn. Its vision of persecution by callous officialdom could prove a touchstone for Khatchvani’s next endeavour.
geotv.ge
My Happy Family (2017). Photo courtesy Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

There are also echoes of the exasperation of Blue Mountain’s writer protagonist in My Happy Family, the latest from Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, in which the inability of middle-aged literature teacher Manana (Ia Shugliashvili) to get a minute for herself amid the whirl of demands and nagging of her relatives is portrayed with a charming feel for the absurd and farcical. Manana decides to leave her husband and the loud, chaotic apartment they share with extended family to live on her own. It’s a decision nobody around her supports or understands, and its basis in the conviction that women should be free to nurture their own inner lives is at odds with Georgian society’s traditional emphasis on family.

As with so many films produced by the “young generation”, My Happy Family deals with the loss of certainty in a changing world. But in the hands of these new talents the tradition of Georgian cinema itself has indisputably been revitalised, and looks more assured than ever.

Related stories:

Top Georgian films addressing the main issues of past and present

Young Georgian director’s film featured at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Georgian director’s film to compete at Sydney Film Festival


Print
Other Stories
“Holiday Factory pioneered Georgia in the UAE to become famous”
Holiday Factory was officially announced as The Best Incoming Tour Operator 2019 at Welcome To Georgia! National Tourism Award event held in Sheraton Grand Metekhi Palace in Tbilisi on Friday, Dec 6th.
Kavkaz Jazz Festival presents: 22nd and 23rd of November, Tbilisi Music Forum and Showcase.
It is the first year for Tbilisi Music Forum and Showcase. Main goal of the event is development of music industry in Georgia and South Caucasus region.
Sam Raan Spa-Center named Best Spa in Europe
The Sam Raan Spa-Center has been named the Best Spa in Europe at the annual Haute Grandeur Global Spa Awards 2019 and won the following nominations:
Region’s Largest Startup Event to be Held in Tbilisi
On November 8-10, 2019, regional Startup Grind event will be held in Tbilisi.
Georgian royal family introduces new wine brand "Prince Ioane Bagrationi"
Member of the Georgian royal family Prince Ioane Bagrationi introduced the society new wine brand named after him - "Prince Ioane Bagrationi".
Georgia Celebrates Day of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral today

The day of Mtskheta city and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is celebrated on 14 October in Georgia.

Georgian Wine Festival 2019 to be held on October 12 on the Shardeni street
Those who are interested and want to know more about Georgian wine can attend Georgian Wine Festival 2019 on October 12 on the Shardeni street. Event starts at 12 pm and lasts till 7 pm.
UNESCO names Tbilisi as Capital of World Book 2021
UNESCO has named Tbilisi as the Capital of the World Book 2021.
Robot Mzia’s preparation for First global – she plays basketball and does pull ups
After the famous robot Vano, Robot Mzia is preparing for the international competition “First Global.”
What comes after Frankfurt? Paris!
The year following the appearance as guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair is known as a difficult one. What are the strategies of Georgian publishers for 2019?
Georgia has its first photography museum
With the Tbilisi Photography & Multimedia Museum (TPMM) Georgia has its first institution entirely dedicated to the contemporary image in its different forms – photography, new media, and video.
„The eighth life“ has arrived home
More than 100'000 Germans have already read it, the Dutch and Polish as well. But it was only last May that Nino Haratischwili's “The eighth life for Brilka” was translated for Georgian readers.
“We will fight for Georgian literature”
One year after Georgia’s well received appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the organizational mastermind, Medea Metreveli, lost her job. Now she's coming up with a new project.
Los Angeles Times about Khatia Buniatishvili – “A genuine musical personality”
Los Angeles Times has recently reviewed the Los Angeles Philharmonic celebration at the Hollywood Bowl marking Gustavo Dudamel’s 10 years with the orchestra.
Important facts about Georgian painter Elene Akhvlediani
Elene Akhvlediani was one of the first recognized female painters in Georgia.
Georgian soprano to perform in a play directed by Woody Allen
Georgian soprano Tsisana Giorgadze will perform in a play directed by Woody Allen.
Georgian Cinematographer Becomes a Member of Motion Picture Academy
Giorgi Shvelidze, Georgian cinematographer has been selected as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Georgian Shilda winery announced winner of  the EU Sustainable Energy Award for Eastern Partnership
The European Union has announced the winner of the EU Sustainable Energy Award for the Eastern partnership at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 18 June.
15 years of creating opportunity for journalists - BP and British Council in Georgia offer English Language Courses for members of the Georgian Media
BP initiated media development program has trained more than 400 representatives on print, broadcast and online media in English language in Georgia.
What Georgian Pirosmani and Spanish Picasso have in common
Niko Pirosmani was a Georgian primitivist painter.
New York City's largest mural features Gurian Horseman
The largest mural in New York City was unveiled last year.
Three songs to know more about Georgian music
Georgia boasts about its rich traditional music.
Georgian – shop for tourists
The largest book shop in Georgia ,,Biblusi’’ has opened the first shop specially designated to the needs and interests of tourists and named it ,,Georgian’’.
SAVE THE DATE! At the 4th Tourism and Hospitality Conference within  Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards
On June 18, the 4th Tourism and Hospitality Conference within Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards will take place at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi.
Conference dedicated to the State Language held in Georgia
"On the 31st of May, in Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, a conference "State Language for Integration and Development of Human Capital in Georgia" was held."
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
12.12.2019
13.12.2019
USD
1
USD
2.8896
2.8661
EUR
1
EUR
3.2028
3.1900
GBP
1
GBP
3.8004
3.7821
RUB
100
RUB
4.5482
4.5362
Other Stories
The success story of Georgian musicians goes beyond the country’s borders.
Gelati Monastery, a medieval monastic complex near Kutaisi, in the Imereti region of western Georgia,
Georgian Prima Balerina Nino Ananiashvili will perform the main part in Romeo and Juliet
Promising Georgian actor Irakli Kvirikadze has been featured in a trailer
National Georgian Ballet Sukhishvili (also known as Sukhishvilebi) have recently presented their new program
The European Film Promotion (EFP) presented the 10 best emerging actors from Europe
It is an ancient tradition in Georgia, yet very alive.
My Georgian Reality is the illustration series inspired by everyday life.
Many distinguished persons such as Alexandre Dumas, Knut Hamsun traveled to Tbilisi and were captivated by its diversity and beauty.
Georgia’s latest and one of the most successful Georgian films My Happy Family is already available on Netflix.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.8661
EUR
1
EUR
3.1900
GBP
1
GBP
3.7821
RUB
100
RUB
4.5362
December 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31