Words By: Leka Pasuri


A glimpse at the 2019 Programme

When it comes to Georgia and particularly Tbilisi’s creative scene, the outside gaze is definitely hyped on the electronic music and dance scene. But not much of recent culture travelers know that Federico Fellini, an Italian legend of cinema, has cited Georgian film as “a completely unique phenomenon.”

From 1st to 8th of December, it will be the 20th time of witnessing lively, diverse, and artsy crowd outside of Amirani; the dedicated cinephiles of Georgia and their international friends will be celebrating a 20-year jubilee of Tbilisi International Film Festival. The grand opening event will screen the first European sound motion picture, which is no less than a masterpiece by Alfred Hitchcock. “Blackmail” will be accompanied by Georgian “Alter –Orchestra” conducted by Mikheil Khukhuneishvili, in the presence of composer Neil Brand. 2019 is also named as the year of Georgian-British friendship, and to celebrate the annual program section “country in focus” compiles the critical works of modern Great Britain, including Ken Loach’s latest “Sorry We Missed You.”

Opening Film: Blackmail/Alfred Hitchcock

A special section dedicated to Tbilisi’s “Apollo,” what has been one of the first cinemas in Europe, will bring together the British classics. What film lover will not enjoy Ken Russell’s “Women in Love,” or “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” by Toni Richardson on the big screen? The celebratory date did turn around the accustomed structure of the program a bit, however luckily for Tbilisi’s newcomers; it will concentrate almost entirely on the Georgian contemporary art-house. From Internationally acclaimed to the grassroots cinema, classics to controversial debuts – Tbilisi IFF has united more than 30 Georgian works so that one can experience a Georgian way of life in all its glory.

There’s a fuss around Giga Liklikadzes debut ‘Ghori” (“A Pig”) – based on a true story, and “Negative Numbers” by Uta Beria. Popular among the peers and mentioned locally as one of the most “authentic” film authors, Lasha Tsqvitinidze will present his second film, “Temo” – worth checking out. If, on the other hand, surreal, fiction and fables are something of your taste, do not miss “A Shivering Heart” by Vajiko Chachkhiani, a rising star of the international contemporary art scene. Premiered in Toronto and anticipated in Tbilisi, “Comets,” a multi-layered drama by Tamar Shavgulidze, captures engaging performances by the renowned Nino Kasradze. Contemporary theatres highlight Ekaterine Kalatozishvili and young Mariam Iremashvili, first time on the screen after being a regular on Demna Gvasalias runway. Georgian Immigrant cinema has a lot to say, and Dito Tsintsadze’s and Dimitri Mamulia’s newest works can prove precisely that. “Golden Thread” by the living classic, Lana Ghoghoberidze, features music by the recently deceased Gia Kancheli, a world-famous composer whose music defines Georgian cinema and theatre. The festival will also screen a forbidden work from 1934, ‘Uzhmuri” – the remastered film by the first Georgian female director, Nutsa Ghoghoberidze. Another legend of Georgian cinema who passed away in 2019: Tbilisi IFF will close with an homage to Mikheil Kobakhidze, a grandmaster of short film, screenwriter, actor and a composer.

Director in focus: Carlos Reygadas

Carlos Reygadas will be the honorable guest and the “Director in Focus,” whose outstanding works have been winning more and more hearts of film-lovers of the world. Do not miss a chance to let his “Post Tenebras Lux” take your breath away if you visit his retrospective. Just as every year, one can find the most outstanding films from around the newest festival catalogues and highlights of the international press. It is possible to spend a whole day at the cinema and choose between the latest pieces by Roy Anderson, Roman Polanski, Albert Serra, Mika Kaurismaki, Agnieszka Holland, Jessica Hausner, Marco Bellocchio, Hirokazu Koreeda, Pedro Costa, Dardenne Brothers, Terrence Malick, Xavier Dolan and many more. As recently, one of Georgia’s most prominent film critics has stated, “one needs not to travel to various film events, as the cinematic year is perfectly summed up in Tbilisi during the first week in December.”

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