Georgian Film in Emigration

By Zaza Rusadze

© Zaza Rusadze, 2011

Breaking Through the Iron Curtain
A vital and active culture, even when on a small-scale, is rarely self-contained. In order to exist and develop, it needs a larger space than the linguistic and geographical borders of its place of origin. The recent past of Georgian cinema is linked to the Soviet epoch, which brought forth the so-called Georgian film phenomenon. At that time Georgian cinema managed to cross the geographical borders of its country and reach a Soviet audience of many millions. Georgian films attracted the audience attention and found an important place in the Soviet film industry. Naturally, this process was based on the political and economic conditions of that period. Accordingly, Georgian films had a reach that was limited to the borders of the USSR. Yet in their creative work, successful filmmakers were not content with either the Soviet audience or the developed infrastructure of film production. For some directors, political pressure made it almost impossible to pursue their professional activities; hence, their hopeful gaze was directed towards the West. For decades Georgia was part of the Soviet cultural space, tucked behind the “iron curtain” and united by the Russian language. Strangely, the generation of directors who created the very phenomenon of Georgian cinema was born in this cultural space. Once again, vital and active culture always expands and transcends political borders. Georgian cinema managed to go beyond its own concrete political context and cross the borders of the Soviet Union.

The process became irreversible. Owners of Western European movie theaters and organizers of international film festivals played a role in this process. Nowadays only narrow circles of society are aware of the fact that they flattered the Soviet Ministry of Culture by agreeing to screen films about Lenin and the spirit of communism. This was only a small compromise from Europeans so they could gain access to films created by Otar Iosseliani, Sergo Parajanov, Mikheil Kobakhidze, Eldar and Giorgi Shengelaia, Tengiz Abuladze and many others. Thus retrospectives of Georgian films were organized in Europe even during the Cold War.

Many international film festivals listed Georgian films as “Georgian,” not “Soviet.” The famous Italian director Federico Fellini said: “Georgian film is a strange phenomenon—special, philosophically light, sophisticated and, at the same time, childishly pure and innocent. There is everything that can make me cry and I ought to say that it (my crying) is not an easy thing” (quoted in Mehta 2011).

This article looks at representatives of two generations of Georgian film-directors, who worked in different political climates. Their artistic manners are unique, special and completely distinct from one another. However, apart from their “Soviet origin” and belonging to Georgian cinema, they have one thing in common: they are emigrants from their native country. Otar Iosseliani, Mikheil Kobakhidze, Nana Jorjadze and Dito Tsintsadze went to live and work abroad, and continued their careers in Western Europe, notably in France and Germany.

Obviously, it would be a mistake to regard the reasons of their emigration as similar. Generally, emigration is not an alien concept to artists: some feel alien even in their own country. The creative process means constant migration from one cultural space to another: visits and travels. In general, art is a translation of one concrete linguistic form into another, more universal and refined form. The magic and charm of cinema may be explained by this boundless, expressive potential.

This article explores and analyses the beginning of the artistic career of the four above-mentioned directors. Special focus will be placed on their course works and diploma works, i.e. their first films, which remain unknown to the broad public. The individual fates and professional careers of these directors are viewed in a broader spectrum in order to establish the causes of their emigration in their films. The process of breaking through the Iron Curtain has now been replaced by a different reality. Is there any visible and provable connection between the past of Georgian cinema and this new reality?

Let us first look at the peculiarities of Soviet film training. In other Soviet republics film direction was taught at Institutes of Theater and Cinema. The central institution for Soviet filmmakers was the State Film Institute VGIK in Moscow. In the Soviet system the principle of the class or workshop was widespread: as a rule, each class had two masters or mentors. During the entrance exams they selected their future students and then led the entire educational course.

These classes or workshops (masterskie) made it possible for filmmakers to establish close artistic links; their aim was to develop not only professional skills, but also exchange artistic visions and experience. Many graduates of the Film Institute have a nostalgic attitude to this model and compare it to living within a family.

Otar Iosseliani was born in 1934, Mikheil Kobakhidze in 1939; both are natives of Tbilisi. In 1965 Kobakhidze graduated from the filmmaking department of the Film Institute VGIK (class of Sergei Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova), while Otar Iosseliani graduated from the class of Aleksandr Dovzhenko and Mikheil Chiaureli.

Gerasimov, who was known for his dogmatic interpretation of Marxism, considered VGIK to be a “Communist studio.” It is well-known that Mikheil Chiaureli was Stalin's favorite Director. Dovzhenko and Makarova also represented Soviet artistic nomenclature. These facts by no means depreciate their professional skills, and it is not the purpose of this article to discuss the role of filmmakers in the history of Soviet film training. 

Let us move from 1965 to 1981, and from Moscow to Tbilisi. The political environment in the Soviet Union had changed. The country that had defeated fascism was now facing the deplorable results of “planned economy,” which also affected Soviet film production and distribution as well as art in general. The authorities in Moscow defined the number of films, scripts, poems and paintings to be produced. The Soviet republics tried hard to meet annual production plans, which resulted often in poor quality. This economic model, and the attempt to control public demand, eventually contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and signs of crumbling of the Soviet Empire were already visible in the 1980s.

In this period, Nana Jorjadze (born 1948) and Dito Tsintsadze (born 1957) completed their cinematographic education in their native country. Nana Jorjadze had studied at the studio of Tengiz Abuladze and Irakli Kvirikadze at the Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi State Theater Institute, whereas Dito Tsintsadze was a student of Eldar Shengelaia and Otar Iosseliani, also in Tbilisi.

In the Soviet Union there was the direct link between professional education and employment. After graduation, young film-makers were employed by film studios. They received a fixed salary and were paid fees for making films. All the Soviet republics had their own film studios, a fact which ensured a permanent cycle of film production. The studios were accountable to the central authorities in Moscow and cooperated with Goskino, whose function was similar to that of a modern film producer and distributor.

The professional career of Soviet film directors developed within the well-organized and controlled system of the film industry. It is surprising that such interesting and bold films as constituted the phenomenon of Georgian cinema were created under the “claws” of the authorities.

Let us now look at the professional careers of Otar Iosseliani, Mikheil Kobakhidze, Nana Jorjadze and Dito Tsintsadze one by one and try to identify a broader context on the basis of their creative works.

Otar Iosseliani
Prior to becoming a film-director, Otar Iosseliani had already acquired two professions: in 1952 he had graduated from a musical college, and from 1953-1955 he had studied at the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics of Moscow State University. From 1956 he worked at the Georgian film studio Gruziafilm as an assistant director, editor, and director of documentaries. In 1961 he became a director and script-writer for the film studio.

pastoral
song thrush
falling leaves

During his studies at VGIK, he made his short coursework film Watercolor (Akvarel, 1958). It is a short, nine-minute piece, in which only a “lazy glance” of the spectator may discover any signs of Soviet art, like the grotesque aesthetics of light of the 1960s. As for the content, the film completely neglects the dominating principles of Socialist Realism. Iosseliani later wrote on the film: 

“This is my first course work, based on a story by Alexander Grin: a poor family, the husband is a drunkard, the wife washes linen to earn their living. Whatever the wife earns, the husband spends on alcohol. Suddenly they see a water-color painting of a house. The house seems warm and cozy, unlike their own. Suddenly they feel very sad.” (Preface to the film on “Otar Iosseliani’s complete filmography”, 19 volume DVD edition, ASIN B001P8UBQO).

The manner of the mise-en-scène, later refined by the director to the level of perfection, is explored in this short: simultaneous movement of comic groups in the frame and, what is most important, quotation on the function of art, i.e. a conceptual explanation of the director’s own professional vision and the very essence of art. The museum guide explains to the viewers in a didactic manner: “maybe such a house does not exist altogether.” The idea is that an artist does not paint what he sees, but what is invisible. The irony that is characteristic of Iosseliani is obvious in the character played by the director himself, who shares philosophical knowledge with the audience in a witty manner. 

Watercolor is the beginning of the director’s creative activity. He would later go on to speak in his own invented cinematic language. Despite the Soviet film production practice and constant conflicts with censors, Iosseliani’s filmography in his Georgian period is quite rich: Song about a Flower (Sapovnela, 1959), April (Aprili, 1962), Melting / La Fonte (Tchougoun, 1964), Falling Leaves (Giorgobistve, 1966), Lived Once a Song-Thrush (Iko shashvi mgalobeli, 1970), Pastoral (Pastorali, 1975).

favorisHowever, it would be wrong to say the central value of Iosseliani’s films is their anti-Soviet attitude. His films do not criticize the existing system; they are an attempt to reflect human  existence. Iosseliani often had to protect his works from the secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the management of the film studio or film critics. He often had to fight for his films. Although it would be interesting to discuss each film and find out how it survived the paranoia of Soviet ideology, this is no superficial issue and should be left to film historians.

However, an excerpt from a letter from Moscow to Rezo Chkheidze, then a staff director at Gruziafilm, may highlight the atmosphere. The letter is signed by Marchukova, Chief Editor of Goskino’s Editorial Board: “Dear Mr. Chkheidze, I refer to the discussion of Otar Iosseliani’'s film Summer in the Village. The discussion was attended by the author himself. While working on a film, the following issues should be taken into account: positive atmosphere at the collective farm […] The audience has to feel that beyond the closed world of the girl's parents there is a different life with different values and attitudes […] In the final scene, when the girl joins the farm collective, the audience has to be sure that this is a well thought-out step taken by a person who prefers to lead an active life, not only for her personal benefit but for the welfare of others as well” (Gvakharia 2005).

Pastoral was “pernicious” for Iosseliani’s career. The film reached Georgian, although not Soviet audiences, and only in 1982 was the film awarded the prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) at the International Film Festival in Berlin. Soon Iosseliani continued his career in France and in 1984 he made Favorites of the Moon (Favoris de la lune), followed by dozens of feature and documentary films, marking the successful period of Otar Iosseliani in emigration.

In an interview Mikheil Kobakhidze said of his colleague: “Otar Iosseliani is the only director among emigrants who followed the French rhythm of life, who fell within the exact dimensions and achieved success in his work. He is a talented director—a Georgian director—he does what he feels as a Georgian” (Sordia 2010).

Mikheil Kobakhidze
Mikheil Kobakhidze is a unique film-maker. His films are poetic symbols: silent narration with black and white images is accompanied by music. The author calls his short films “free genre.” Striving for freedom through the creative process becomes something intimate. He creates all the details of his films himself: from script to the selection of music. “The intrusion of others into my world would bring different vibrations and senses, therefore, I prefer to do everything myself,” Kobakhidze said in an interview (Sordia 2010).

umbrella
young love
wedding

Kobakhidze made his diploma work, the short film titled Eight and a Half (Rvanakhevari) in Tbilisi. The seemingly anti-Soviet elements in the film attracted the attention of the censors and the film was destroyed even before it could be sent to Moscow. Destruction of films was a widespread practice in the Soviet era. The suspicions of the censors were aroused by one episode of the film: people greeted one another and a voice-over asked: “How are you, my friends?” The people replied: “So-so.” The author failed to save the film even by changing the sound track. The answer “Fine, thanks,” said by people with suffering faces only enhanced the sense of irony, so Kobakhidze’s Eight and a Half was lost forever. The obstacles he faced at the beginning of his career were only a taste of what was to come. 

musicianIn 1964 Kobakhidze made another diploma: The Wedding (Qortsili) was awarded three prizes at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival (Grand Prix, the Prize of the Association of Film Journalists, and the Prize of the International Evangelist Film Center). “You are already a director, you’re wasting time at the Institute,” said Kobakhidze’s mentor Gerasimov. Kobakhidze’s filmography consists of six short films: Young Love (Molodaia liubov’, 1961), Merry-Go-Round (Karusel’, 1962), The Wedding, Umbrella (Qolga, 1967) Musicians (Musikosebi, 1969).

After shooting Musicians in 1969, Kobakhidze was stripped of the right to work as a director on the order of Goskino’s chair Alexander Romanov. The prohibition to practice one’s profession was a widespread Soviet method. It is now easy to see the professional pressure upon Kobakhidze and other authors, and to imagine the financial implications that followed the prohibition of professional activities.

In 1981 the First Secretary of the Georgian Central Committee of the Communist Party, Eduard Shevardnadze, invited Kobakhidze to continue his professional activities. In a personal conversation Shevardnadze even allowed Kobakhidze to secretly shoot an anti-Soviet film. The desire to return to cinema re-appeared, but the anti-Soviet film was preceded by an anti-Soviet step: in 1983 seven armed young people hijacked a plane from Tbilisi. Among the hijackers was Gega, Mikheil Kobakhidze’s son, who was sentenced to death by Soviet courts.

en cheminAfter these tragic events and a long and forced creative pause, Kobakhidze moved to France in 1996. However, his emigration was not as successful as in the case of Iosseliani. Admirers of Georgian cinema paid tribute to Kobakhidze’s early short films. Many retrospectives were organized, and for the director there appeared a chance to return to cinema. In 2003 he made a new short film, On the Way (En chemin), which is in harmony with the author’s traditional, uncompromising manner. Kobakhidze’s new full-length feature film is currently at the pre-production stage. Kobakhidze comments on his work in emigration thus:

“Films are made in the same way everywhere. Everywhere they need directors, script-writers, equipment, lights, acting… So it does not matter whether one works in France or in Georgia. Wherever I am, I create what I want.” (Sordia 2010)

Unfortunately, first the Soviet system and later Western consumer-based principles deprived this wonderful director of his creative arena. His refusal to compromise his principles is admirable, but the director had to sacrifice a lot. The direct or indirect prohibitions did not hamper his creative growth, but this is known only to a narrow circle of friends. For the broader audience, Kobakhidze remains only the author of the marvelous short films made in the 60s that aroused intermingled sadness and joy and a serene smile in Georgia and elsewhere.

“I have a feeling that money has destroyed cinema. Film-makers should do what they feel in the depths of their heart. They should make films that tell about feelings and emotions, and not films that are based on special effects that draw the audience's attention,” Kobakhidze once said in an interview (Sordia 2010).

Nana Jorjadze
In the 1980s financial problems occurred in the Soviet Union, though these difficulties were unnoticeable at the time. The socialist model of state management led the gigantic structure comprising 15 republics to complete political and economic bankruptcy. There were still guaranteed subsidies in the field of culture, however. The well-known reforms of Glasnost and Perestroika formed an interesting environment for creative self-realization. Soviet censorship changed along with these processes, even if it did not acknowledge the loss of power and often continued to pretend its power. 

chef in  loveJorjadze came to the cinema in a roundabout way. In 1972 she graduated from the Department of Architecture of the Tbilisi Academy of Art. Later she worked as an architect on the Georgian City Project and completed her postgraduate course at the Moscow Project Institute. In 1977 she played in Lana Gogoberidze’s Several Interviews on Personal Matters (Ramdenime interviu pirad sakitkhebze). This was the beginning of her film career: from architecture to acting and direction.

In 1974 Jorjadze enrolled at the Faculty of Film Direction of the Shota Rustaveli State Theater Institute, class of Tengiz Abuladze and Irakli Kvirikadze. In 1979 she made her coursework film Atlas (Atlant), about a man who returns home with shopping bags. A stranger asks him to help, as he tries to support a collapsing balcony. He has to leave on an urgent matter and asks the man to stand in for him for a while. The stranger never returns. Days pass, and the protagonist remains in his position, propping up the balcony like Atlas, while observing the diversity of people in the street and their lives.

missing kissesThis ironic and sad film is of special interest. In the 80s the Soviet Empire was falling apart like the balcony in the film. However, the ruling class was unwilling to admit it. This created total agony. Therefore the author used the symbol of Atlas to comment on the era in which she had to work. The director herself played one of the characters in the film, a singer with an accordion, who disturbs people with her poor singing. The song runs through the entire film and underlines the comic nature of the situation.

With regard to Soviet censorship, Jorjadze faced great difficulty in connection with her film Help Me Climb Mount Elbrus (Momekhmaret ialbuzze asvlashi, 1981). The film is about an old man who is tired of his daily routine and family problems. He decides to break out of the closed circle and realize his lifelong dream of climbing the snow-covered peak of Mt Elbrus. The production of this film was difficult and Central Television in Moscow “corrected” the finished film without asking the director’s permission. The full-length film was cut by 40 minutes and a large portion of the sound track was changed. The TV management told the director ironically and proudly: “We have helped you climb the mountain.” Jorjadze lost her temper and spoke aggressively about the mire of the Soviet Empire. However, she was not arrested and her further creative activities were not prohibited.

robinsoniadeJorjadze’s Soviet career comprises only three feature films: A Journey to Sopot (Mogzauroba Sopotshi, 1980), Help Me Climb Mount Elbrus (1981) and Robinsoniada, or My English Grandfather (Robinzoniada, anu chemi ingliseli Papa, 1986), awarded the prestigious Golden Camera award at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1987. The film tells a love story between an English telegraph worker and a Georgian girl. The action unfolds in Georgia in the period when the Soviet regime was being established. After the success of this film Jorjadze made a pause of ten years. She moved to Germany, where she made a film called A Chef in Love (Shekvarebuli kulinaris ataserti retsepti [literally: 1001 Recipes of a Chef in Love ], 1996).

A Chef in Love is reminiscent of Jorjadze’s previous work Robinsoniada or My English Grandfather. In both films, love stories are developed within an important political context, i.e. against the background of the introduction of Soviet power in Georgia. Unlike Iosseliani and Kobakhidze, Jorjadze is interested in narrative cinema. Her stories are about the relationships between the aristocracy and the communists, the lowest class that has just gained power. This violent power struggle is viewed from the perspective of a foreign character, either English or French.

Kobakhidze’s characters have no nationality; they are universal citizens. In Iosseliani’s films of the Georgian period, only Russians represent foreign culture, appearing in his films intermittently and comically. In Jorjadze’s films the protagonists represent a foreign culture, thus shifting the author's perspective, who observes her own culture through the eyes of a foreigner. From this viewpoint one can easily notice strange, exotic stereotypes. Therefore, in Jorjadze’s films love can lead to diarrhea, pilots write their mistresses' names in the sky, and impotent generals shoot from their cannons passionately. Upon returning to their countries, the foreigners tell their friends these comic stories and show them photos of their journeys.

Her Georgian-German co-production A Chef in Love is the only Georgian film ever to have been nominated for an Oscar. Jorjadze's next film, 27 Missing Kisses (2000) achieved great success in film distribution worldwide. “Believe me, it does not matter where you are: at the shining magic world of the Cannes festival or at a grocery store in Tbilisi... Wherever you are, you need MONEY, this awful, unbearable, unavoidable money...” Nana Jorjadze said in one of her interviews (Kikaleishvili 2005).

Dito Tsintsadze
In 1978 the creative union “Debut” was established on the basis of the Georgian film studio Gruziafilm. The union enabled the students and graduates of the film direction faculty to implement their creative ideas before starting a professional career. Many directors of the generation that came of age in the 1980s remember Debut fondly. They were young and state subsidies enabled them to realize their creative thoughts at a time when the grip of censorship was easing.

Between 1990 and 1994 young directors formed the film studio “Seven” (Shvidkatsa). One of the members of the studio was Tato Kotetishvili, a director of special interest. Dito Tsintsadze remembers those times as follows: “We drank, went crazy, yet we worked a lot.” (Kikaleishvili 2005). However, soon the political and economic conditions deteriorated, and alongside the demise of the USSR, the film industry collapsed as films no longer received state subsidies. 

Dito Tsintsadze started his career against this unfavorable background. Unlike his colleagues, Tsintsadze was less affected by Soviet censorship. His main obstacle was the economic hardship in the country. Tsintsadze was born in Tbilisi in 1957. In 1981 he graduated from the Faculty of Filmmaking at the Shota Rustaveli Theater Institute, class of Eldar Shengelaia and Otar Iosseliani. Tsintsadze characterizes his mentors thus:

“I realized that there is a kind of cinema, which is different. Eldar Shengelaia was our mentor and Otar Iosseliani taught us editing. I adore Eldar's fable-like narration, his world and his personality. I adore Otar's pure cinematography, his structure which needs no language. This was a discovery for me. Even now I show them my films and… I feel so nervous when Otar watches them. He never repeats his images; I often do. I know what he thinks when he sees the repeated images in my films!” (Kikaleishvili 2005).

lost killersAmong Tsintsadze’s early works, mention should be made of his short film Guests (Stumrebi, 1990). Here the author tries to reconstruct a family chronicle from the perspective of an amateur camera. The film is nearly devoid of narrative content, yet the author manages to draw a complete picture of society by means of intermittent and mixed-up narration.

Until 1990 Tsintsadze worked at Gruziafilm and from 1990–1994 he was part of the studio “Seven,” where his first and last full-length feature film of his Georgian period was made. The film is called On the Edge (Zgvardze, 1993) and tells about the dramatic events during the 1991-92 Georgian civil war, when society is divided into two hostile camps and a Georgian youngster has to choose a side. In near-documentary aesthetics, the film describes the events of the early 1990s, showing the real face of the civil war: inimical streets and hostilities within yards. At the Locarno International Film Festival Tsintsadze’s film was awarded the Silver Leopard. This award gave Tsintsadze the opportunity to leave his own country, which had been destroyed by the civil war. Thus, he continued his career abroad.

After the success of his film in Locarno, Tsintsadze was invited to cooperate with Italian producer Vito Dibari. The offer sounded interesting, so Tsintsadze immediately signed a contract, which, as it turned out later, was exclusive and forbade Tsintsadze to work with any other producer. Later Tsintsadze sold his flat in Tbilisi, paid a fine for violating the contract and moved to Germany, where his friends, including Nana Jorjadze, helped him start his career anew.

schussangstIt is symbolic that Tsintsadze’s German film, Lost Killers (2000), tells about the grotesque life of immigrants in Germany. The main characters are the Croatian Branco and the Georgian Merab who try to overcome financial problems and adapt to life in a foreign country. In order to improve their economic hardship, they turn into killers and attempt to murder a Russian businessman. However, in the decisive moment Merab has a nervous breakdown and suffers a stomach disorder. 

In one of his interviews Tsintsadze remembers with his typical irony: “A journalist once said that my film Gun-Shy [Fear to Shoot, 2003] was not German in its nature. I agreed. Then he said the film was not Georgian either. I agreed with this too. The journalist was surprised and asked what country the film was typical of? I answered Malaysia. He took the answer down with great care” (Kikaleishvili 2005).

After the fall of the Iron Curtain
In 2010 Otar Iosseliani’s latest film Chantrapas screend out of competition in Cannes. Both Western and Georgian audiences looked forward to the film, which was known to be autobiographic. This increased the audience's expectations. However, in the beginning it was impossible to find financing in France, so Iosseliani's film was financed by Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian sources.  

chantrapasIosseliani’s Chantrapas is a film about cinema and filmmakers. The director denies that the film is autobiographic, but that the content is broader and not just personal. Chantrapas is a picture of the epoch and not just the fate of one concrete director. Indeed, Iosseliani’s fate differs greatly from that of the protagonist.

Georgian audiences and Iosseliani’s admirers in general disapproved of the film. The long sequences so characteristic of Iosseliani were edited and cut, so Iosseliani was accused of betraying his cinematographic principles. Some said that the great artist had grown old. However, the reason was probably different. In an interview Iosseliani said:

“This is a film about our common fate. It is about the ‘wonderful’ censorship of Soviet films. It is a film about people leaving a country where life has become impossible. They hope that elsewhere life will be better. One of those who left the Soviet Union was Sergei Dovlatov. He found himself in a joyful Jewish community where eventually everyone was involved in a row. Dovlatov was troubled by this fact, yet he tried to observe the row with humor. He wrote that in the Soviet country he felt bad, but life was vibrant. We have grown up in conditions of censorship so we thought this was normal. Among those who supervised us were wonderful and talented people.” (“Otar Iosseliani…”).  

babluaniIn Chantrapas Iosseliani draws bold parallels. The question arises: can the dictate of money in cinema change the content of a film? Where does creative freedom start and end? Probably Iosseliani, Kobakhidze, Jorjadze, Tsintsadze, as well as the successful émigré filmmakers Nino Kirtadze and Gela Babluani, will remember many examples from their experience when discussing their scripts with foreign editors, producers or film funds resembled Soviet censorship. Many ideas were buried due to the failure to find financing. 

These reasons probably made it difficult to raise funds for the production of Chantrapas abroad. Directly and indirectly, the film criticizes the principles of the modern market economy, which leads to an abyss that people are unwilling to acknowledge. The film is an attempt to show that the fate of an artist is the same under every regime. Political systems cannot change human nature and the secret of humanity remains unexplained.

While watching Chantrapas the audience looked at the screen, where another screen was shown. The director enabled the audience to look at him from behind, in the figurative sense of this expression. Probably the audience disliked this shift of perspective. According to Iosseliani, in films as well as modern art the perfectionism of form resembles the duplication of dead thoughts. Iosseliani sacrificed his unique cinematographic form in order to make room for thought.
 
kirtadzeThe participation in such a discourse necessitates the admission that there is a deadlock. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the political events that followed, such an analysis of the epoch seems dangerous. When denying the advantage of one political regime over another, ity is necessary to create new models. As Iosseliani suggested:

“Even when you spend 50 years in a country, it is impossible to change your mentality. Therefore, I continue making Georgian films in France. Thank God, the common language of culture is identical for a Georgian in France and throughout Europe. It resembles the common language of Judaism and Christianity in which the understanding of good and evil is similar...” (“Otar Iosseliani…”)

Vital and creative thoughts, like culture, always expand and go far beyond political borders. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the objective of cinema is to warn mankind that dialogue can be an illusion and a new iron curtain should be avoided. This is the hard road that future filmmakers will have to muster, some successfully and others less so, each with a different motivation. The individual freedom still remains an ephemeral idea that can be achieved only in the process of creative work.


Works Cited

Gvakharia, G., 2005. "Pastorale and Censorship." Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty 23 May.

Kikaleishvili, S., 2005. "An Hour Trip through the Biography of Nana Jorjadze." Tskheli Shokoladi 1 June.

Kikaleishvili, S., 2001. "Dito from 6.00 to 9.00—Dito Tsintsadze." Tskheli Shokoladi 1 July.

Mehta, Santosh, 2001. “Poetry in motion picture, by Georgia!,” The Hindu Business Line, 13 January.

Sordia, S., 2010. "Mikheil Kobakhidze—Beyond Georgian Frame." Akhali 7 Dghe 30 June.

“Otar Iosseliani Believes in the Renaissance of the Georgian Cinema.” Media News Information. 26 September 2010.

 

Updated: 15 Aug 11