The Calvert Journal: Meet the women at the forefront of new Georgian cinema
07 March, 2018
The Calvert Journal: Meet the women at the forefront of new Georgian cinema
Nowadays, Georgian cinema is reaching new heights and gaining international success at many film festivals thanks to a prize-winning wave of female directors.

Award-winning magazine on the culture of the region often referred to as "the New East", the Calvert Journal, devotes the article written by Tamar Koplatadze to the new era in Georgian cinema, which is lead by talented Georgian female directors.

“While the first cohort of New Wave films [produced in Georgia in the early 2000s] examined the
country’s painful recent history of socio-political unrest, the second wave of films, largely by women directors, puts the spotlight on strong female protagonists who face the myriad challenges of life in 21st-century Georgia", the author of the article notes.

According to the article, the tradition of Georgian women’s film dates back to Soviet times, most notably to one of the most overtly feminist Soviet films: Lana Gogoberidze’s Some Interviews on Personal Matters (1979).
Georgian actress Sofiko Chiaureli in Some Interviews on Personal Matters

The film uncovers the story of Sofiko, a young newspaper employee, who is passionately involved in her work interviewing people who have submitted complaint letters to the editor. A bold mixture of documentary and social-psychological drama - and the first film to make mention of Stalin's camps - Some Interviews on Personal Matters makes powerful statements about women, work, family, and marriage that earned it international acclaim as the first feminist film of the Soviet cinema.

Educated at Tbilisi State University and Moscow State University of Cinematography, Gogoberidze headed Director's Studio at the Rustaveli Theatre School, Tbilisi, in 1975 and directed the studio Kartuli P'ilmi (Georgia Film) in 1988. Gogoberidze's fiction and documentary movies have won several international awards. Her film Day Is Longer than Night was screened at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. Same year, she was a member of the jury at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival.

The author of the article also singles out the work of Lana Gogoberidze’s daughter, Salome (Nutsa) Aleqsi-Meskhishvili, the director of the film Line of Credit. The film is a fictional account of the Georgian debt crisis, when in between 2009 and 2013 14% of the nation's population lost their home as a result of mortgage loans.
Still from Line of Credit

Told through the eyes of one woman the story spins around Nino, the main character (played by famous Georgian actress Nino Kasradze) is a shop owner in Tbilisi, when the global recession hits the Republic of Georgia like the rest of the world, Nino resorts to pawning family heirlooms to throw her mother a birthday party; as things worsen, she takes out loan after loan to keep her business afloat.
Still from Line of Credit

As Tamar Koplatadze notes, Nutsa-Aleksi Meskhishvili was not the only Georgian female director who focused on women’s struggles from a psychological perspective.

“Tinatin Kajrishvili’s semi-autobiographical Brides (2014), Nino Basilia’s Anna’s Life (2016) and Keti Machavariani’s Salt White (2011) choose a contrasting approach and focus on women’s struggles from a psychological perspective”, the article reads.

The Brides is a 2014 Georgian-French film directed by Tinatin Kajrishvili. In her feature film debut Tinatin Kajrishvili shows the daily routine of a woman whose partner is in prison.
Still from Brides

The film had its world premiere at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section and won the 3rd Place Panorama Audience Award – Fiction Film 2014.

Anna’s Life, 2016 drama film directed by Nino Basilia, uncovers the story of the single mom Ana, who is forced to take three then four jobs to support herself and her autistic son who lives in a children's home, and when the whole thing becomes too much to bear she decides to leave Georgia and travel to the US.
Still from Anna's Life

The protagonist of Salt White (prizes include two awards at Cottbus’s renowned festival of eastern European film), is a young woman (Nino Koridze) hoping to one day run her own café, but meanwhile waitressing at a diner and a night club in the bustling resort of the Black Sea coast.
Still from Salt White

“Drained by work and the snappy flatmates with whom she shares a bedroom and bathroom, she shows remarkable human kindness and strength by befriending and helping a teenage homeless girl”, reads the review of the Salt White written by Tamar Koplatadze.

The author of the article also stresses the new generation of young female directors and their internationally successful works, such as Nana Ekvtimishvili’s and Simon Gross’s My Happy Family (2017) and Ana Urushadze’s psychological thriller Scary Mother (2017) (winner of nine awards, including top prizes at Locarno and Sarajevo festivals), and calls them “more explicit in their feminist approach”.

“These films question the role of women as devoted, multi-tasking matriarchs and emphasize the importance of having a room of one’s own. Their female protagonists have in common not only their name and age (both are called Manana and both are in their early fifties) but also life trajectories”, Tamar Koplatadze explains.

My Happy Family is a 2017 Georgian drama film directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross. It was screened in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Still from My Happy Family

The film and its Georgian director managed to draw the attention of international critics, audience and journalists. A number of prestigious and leading publications have spotlighted the film that unvails everyday problems of devoted housewives and mothers.

Scary Mother is a 2017 Georgian drama film directed by Ana Urushadze. The film uncovers the story of Manana, a middle-aged woman, who hopes to find herself by secretly penning a darkly erotic thriller. She hides the writing from her husband Anri, but tensions heighten after she lets him read an excerpt.
Still from Scary Mother

As a reminder, young Georgian filmmaker Ana Urushadze’s debut feature Scary Mother has been recently named among the best films to watch in 2018 by The Calvert Journal. Award-winning online magazine dedicated to exploring the culture and creativity of the New East recommended to its readers to watch Scary Mother, as it truly deserves its own place among the best movies to watch in 2018.

Related stories:

Georgian movie Line of Credit featured at New York-based film platform

The Calvert Journal: “New Georgian cinema: discover a fresh generation of filmmakers reviving a national tradition“

Georgian director's My Happy Family among the best films screened on Netflix in 2017

Emerging Georgian director’s Scary Mother among films of 2018 to watch
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