The current coronavirus outbreak has changed the global lifestyle as we know it, enforcing us to stay at home, self-reflect and turn to whatever is most comforting – the fiction. Social distancing made everyone discover the sheer volume of good stuff that turns out is accessible on the internet, so we decided to help you navigate through this information and share some hidden Georgian talent with you. We rounded up some of the best low-key Georgian contemporary movies and a few cult classics available online for your watching pleasure. These hand-picked features take us into the mind of a modern Georgian – young, bold and sophisticated.
Bakhmaro / ბახმარო
This documentary feature takes place at a three-storey building in a small Georgian town. The property used to be a hotel, but now it’s a “multifunctional” space that incorporates a usually-empty restaurant, a Chinese store, slot machines and a political party office. The building is a micro-cosmos of its own, reflecting a country in constant expectation of change. The film was shot by Salome Jashi, a prominent Georgian director and author of several brilliant documentaries, including The Dazzling Light of Sunset, A Swim and The Leader is Always Right.
I’m Beso / მე ვარ ბესო
A debut feature film by young filmmaker Lasha Tskvitinidze. The story revolves around 14-year-old Beso, living in a remote Georgian village and growing up with many problems in his family. Beso himself is bullied at school but manages to remain in good spirits. He makes rap recordings on his dictaphone and dreams of earning money through music to help out his family. It’s a melancholic and compassionate story on what it means to grow up in a poor, crumbling province of Georgia.
My Happy Family / ჩემი ბედნიერი ოჯახი
A beautifully shot story about a middle-aged woman who decides to leave her husband and two children to move out and live in solitude, thus shocking her big, traditional Georgian family. The movie premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and has been positively received by the critics around the world, with the directors receiving a number of awards. Eventually, the film was picked up by Netflix.
Line of Credit / კრედიტის ლიმიტი
Forty-year-old Nino was doing pretty well in Soviet Georgia, but once the Empire collapsed, she found it hard to cope with the new reality, thus, emerging in a moving story about Georgian debt crisis. The film was featured at Venice Film festival and collected many international awards since its release in 2014. Shot by Nutsa Aleksi-Meskhishvili, a distinguished Georgian screenwriter, editor, producer and third-generation female film director.
Andro / ანდრო
The debut short film by actor Tornike Gogrichiani follows a man and his child as they embark on a journey to neighboring Turkey. It’s a drama-story that gives us a glimpse of the people’s harsh life in post-soviet Georgia. The film received grand-prizes at the festivals in Paris and Tehran.
Ana / ანა (იძინებს მზე)
This short feature belongs to a young and upcoming Georgian director Margo Zubashvili. Two days in the life of a middle-aged woman called Ana makes the viewer feel her deep emotions and female melancholy. Brilliant acting by Nino Kasradze, a distinguished Georgian actor who also leads in another film recommended by us – Line of Credit.
Watermelon / საზამთრო
In Georgia, in the middle of a desert, on the hottest day of summer two watermelon sellers cross paths and their competition begins… It’s a humorous and sympathetic short film by yet another upcoming director, Tato Kotetishvili.
Oldies but Goldies
Watching a classic movie is never a bad idea. Here’s some of the highly-acclaimed Georgian films that will bring you in awe.
Falling Leaves / გიორგობისთვე
A young idealist takes a job at a local state-run winery only to discover and become disillusioned by the corruption of the Soviet State… Shot in 1966, the movie is a real Georgian gem by legendary director Otar Ioseliani. At the time, the film was completely rejected by the Soviet Government and banned for having anti-soviet connotations. Falling Leaves was screened at the 1968 Cannes Films Festival.
A Wedding / ქორწილი
A wedding is a masterpiece of silent film by the virtuoso director Mikheil Kobakhidze. An amusingly deep story revolves around a man who meets a girl in a bus and imagines a future life with her. The movie came out in 1964 and is only 20 minutes long, but trust us, it’s enough. Pro tip: did you spot the exterior of the Stamba Hotel continuously appearing in the film?
April / აპრილი
One more beautiful film by the man himself – Otar Ioseliani. Filled with symbolism and spectacular cinematography, April is a romance-drama story of a young couple and how consumerist attitudes lead to cracks in their relationship. The movie debuted in 1962 with another Georgian genius – Erlom Akhvlediani – contributing as a script writer.
That’s it for now but keep in mind, this modest list is just a glimpse into Georgia’s long standing tradition of cinematography that might just be experiencing a renaissance thanks to a new generation of forward-thinking filmmakers.