Outstanding Georgian director Tengiz Abuladze's life and career
31 January, 2018
Outstanding Georgian director Tengiz Abuladze's life and career
January 31 marks the birthday of renowned Georgian director Tengiz Abuladze. He would have turned 94 today. Abuladze is one of the most remarkable representatives of Georgian cinema. He is regarded as one of the best Soviet directors in history.
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Tengiz Abuladze

‘The Wishing Tree’, ‘Repentance’, ‘The Plea’, ‘Me, Grandma, Iliko and Ilarion’, ‘Other People's Children’, ‘Magdana's Donkey’, ‘A Necklace for My Beloved’ – these are the movies which created the brilliant biography of Tengiz Abuladze.
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A scene from the
comedy Me, Grandma, Iliko and Ilarion


Renowned Georgian director was born on January 31, 1924 in Kutaisi, administrative center of Georgia’s Imereti Region.

Abuladze studied theatre direction (1943–1946) at the Shota Rustaveli Theatre Institute, Tbilisi, Georgia, and filmmaking at the VGIK (All-Union State Institute of Cinematography) in Moscow. He graduated VGIK in 1952 and in 1953 he joined Georgia Film Studios as a director. He was awarded the title of People's Artist of the Soviet Union in 1980.
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Tengiz Abuladze at shooting stage. Photo courtesy National Library

His first film, Magdana's Donkey (1956), which he directed in collaboration with Rezo Chkheidze, another outstanding Georgian director, won the Best Short Fiction award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.
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A scene from the movie Magdana's Donkey. Photo courtesy National Library

He is most famous for his film trilogy: The Plea (1967), The Wishing Tree (1976) and Repentance (1984, released 1987).

The Plea (Vedreba in Georgian) was released in 1967. The film is based on the poems of famous Georgian poet Vazha-Pshavela, is regarded as an influential classic and is an appreciated work of 20th century world cinema.
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A scene from the movie The Plea

The Plea tells tragic story of harsh traditions preserved in Georgia’s highlands, human relations, hospitality and courage characteristic of the inhabitants of Georgia’s mountainous areas. Georgian hospitality is one of the main topics of the movie. The main character of The Plea respects and protects his guest, despite the fact that he is the representative of another religion, and even his enemy.
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The Plea (1967)

The wishing Tree is one of the most famous and successful works by Tengiz Abuladze. The movie depicts situation in pre-revolutionary Georgian village and tells a sad story of beautiful young woman Marita, who is forced to marry a man she does not love; her unsanctioned love for another leads her to ritual disgrace and sacrifice.
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A scene from the movie The Wishing Tree. Photo courtesy National Library

Lika Kavzharadze, one of the most beautiful and talented Georgian actresses played the role of Marita. Kavzharadze played so wonderfully that many people still call her by the name of the lead character in the movie. The example of Georgian national beauty Lika Kavzharadze passed away on October 11, 2017, but for Georgian society she still remains as young and beautiful Marita.
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Lika Kavzharadze as Marita in The Wishing Tree (1976)

Repentance (Monanieba in Georgian) was made in 1984, but its release was banned in the Soviet Union for its allegorical criticism of the Soviet regime. It won the Special Jury Prize at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
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A scene from the movie Repentance

Repentance is the movie against Soviet ideology. When the Mayor of a small town, Varlam Aravidze dies, the next day after the funeral his corpse turns up in the garden of his son's house. The corpse is reburied, yet it reappears again in the garden. A woman, Ketevan Barateli is arrested and accused of digging up the corpse.

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Repentance (1984)

She defends herself and states that Varlam does not deserve to be buried as he supported Stalinist method of rule and terror as well as was responsible for the disappearance of her own parents and friends. The movie reflects a tragic story of thousands of victims of the Soviet regime.

Tengiz Abuladze made 12 films during his career. Five of them were documentaries and seven were fiction. His final films were going to be about renowned Georgian poet Galaktion Tabidze and writer Ilia Chavchavadze, but the famous director died before he could finish them.
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Renowned Italian director Federico Fellini and Tengiz Abuladze. Photo courtesy National Library

Tengiz Abuladze remains one of the most honorable and remarkable representatives of Georgian cinema.

Author: Bedisa Dumbadze

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