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
Photo exhibition “Batumi Photo Days" to be held in Batumi
From the 31st of August to the 2nd of September Batumi will host the "Batumi Photo Days".
International festival of Verdi to be held in Georgia
It has just been agreed that the International Festival of Verdi will be held in Georgia.
"3000 delegates from 150 countries applauded the Georgian Alphabet"
In 2017, a very important thing happened for Georgia – UNESCO entered the ancient Georgian alphabet onto the list of the World's Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Ensemble "Iveria" presents the renewed "Jays’ Wedding" on the "Black Sea Arena"
On August 28, within the framework of "Check In Georgia", the Black Sea Arena, Creative Union "Lomis" and Ensemble "Iveria" will present a musical theatre called "Jays’ Wedding".
Georgia was granted the Status of a Host Country at the “River Bank Festival” in Frankfurt
Between the 24th-26th of August 24-26 at the Frankfurt River Festival (which is visited by 3 million tourists annually) Georgia will be presented with the status of a Host country.
The story of the “Georgian Byron” - Nikoloz Baratashvili
Nikoloz Baratashvili was a Georgian poet at the beginning of the 19th century. He is sometimes referred as the “Georgian Byron”.
The Founder of the most successful Georgian Startup George Arison to Speak at Startup Grind Tbilisi
Startup Grind is a global community where people who have founded startups, want to found startups, fund them, want to work for them, or just learn about them gather.
The unique archive of the Brothers Zubalashvilis was recently transferred from France to the National Museum of Georgia with the support of TBC
The unique archive of Georgian industrialists and brothers Zubalashvilis was recently transferred to Georgia from France with the support of TBC.
Virtual Museum to open in Tbilisi
A Virtual Museum is to open in Tbilisi, (at Tabykashvili Street ) by the end of August.
Graves of Georgian Mamelukes in Cairo Egypt
In one of the slums of Cairo there is a cemetery where you will find the graves of Georgian Mamelukes.
Robert Plant performed at the Black Sea Arena
The 12th Black Sea Jazz Festival was opened with a performance from Robert Plant.
The Nominees’ registration within the Welcome To Georgia! National Tourism Awards 2018 is open
Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards Project invites hotels, wineries, restaurants, tour operators, travel agencies and companies who are focused on the hospitality industry or tourism sector, to participate in the annual contest,
Ilia Chavchavadze and William Blake on truth and lies
“Tell your friend the truth and keep it from your foe”. This is the epigraph of Ilia Chavchavdze’s novel “Is a Man a Human?”!
Bus stops in Georgia assigned the status of Cultural Heritage Monument
Bus stops in the Municipalities of Khashuri and Mtskheta which were built in the 1970’s have recently been assigned the status of Cultural Heritage Monument.
Open Media Hub - Supporting Media Professionals across the EU neighbourhood area
On July 9, 2018 the OPEN Media Hub launched a call for expression of interest, a production support scheme, to enable TV and online video journalists in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries to create contents (audio-visual stories, news, features, online portfolio…) on important regional issues
Exhibition of The project "10 Georgian Wines You Must Try Before You Die" to bo held on Maidan
On Maidan, on July 13 and 14, from 15:00 onwards will be exhibited and sold for specially created collection / tourist / gift wines boxes.
PowerPoint Karaoke is coming to Tbilisi
For the second time this summer PowerPoint Karaoke is coming to Tbilisi to gather together startupers, urban professionals and students
The Bodleian Library publishes a book about Georgia
With the support of TBC Bank of Georgia, Nikoloz Aleksidze’s book with Bodleian Library Publishing, "Georgia: a cultural journey through the Wardrop Collection has recently been published".
Visit an exhibition of Italian masterpieces in Georgia
From May 25 Georgian National Museum hosts the masterpieces from the Royal Library of Turin. The Royal Library preserves unique collections of drawings.
Unforgettable voice from Georgia
Enjoy variations of a beautiful Georgian song by three different generations.
Georgia to win Europa-Nostra Prize 2018
EU Prize for Cultural Heritage awarded countries for their outstanding heritage achievements during the Excellence Fair at the Allianz Forum in Berlin on June 21.
Rehabilitation works of Atskuri fortress are about to finish soon
Atskuri fortress is one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia. Because of its geographic location, it was considered to be unapproachable and unconquerable one.
Georgian annual cultural festival Art  Area starts on June 23
Art Area is the first TV channel about culture. It was launched in 2012 by TBC Bank, one of the largest in Georgia.
International Music Festival Tbilisi Open Air starts today
Tbilisi Open Air is an annual international festival held in Georgia. It is focused on mainstream music of different genres and creates great atmosphere for any kind of listeners or age groups.
“Welcome to Georgia – the Musical” - Play introducing Georgia to foreigners
It is not a secret that lots of tourists visit Georgia to explore its traditions, nature, cultures, etc.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
22.09.2018
23.09.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6216
2.6216
EUR
1
EUR
3.0854
3.0854
GBP
1
GBP
3.4584
3.4584
RUB
100
RUB
3.9340
3.9340