October 2018, arsenal cinema

Family Affairs – Cinematic Relationships Between Georgia and Arsenal


The various relationships between Arsenal and Georgian cinema are complex and stretch far back into the history of our institution. Since the first week of Georgian films in 1975, Georgian films have repeatedly been shown in our cinema program and at the Forum, while prints of Georgian films have entered our distribution range and archive. One year ago, we presented a part of this collection in a comprehensive film series and were able to welcome numerous directors to discuss their films with the audience. These conversations with Lana Gogoberidze, Salomé Alexi, Merab Kokotschaschwili, Gela Kandelaki, Otar Iosseliani and Dito Tsintsadze, a panel discussion about Georgian films in archives, as well as two essays about Georgian film history and the history of censorship there have now been brought together in a trilingual (German, English, Georgian) publication that is fresh off the press. With this in mind, we are showing further films from our collection and are very happy to welcome Otar Iosseliani to Arsenal once again, who has made all the digitally restored versions of his films available to us for distribution.

NATVRIS KHE (The Wishing Tree, Tengiz Abuladze, USSR 1977, 22.10., introduction and book presentation by Erika und Ulrich Gregor) strings together a circular set of scenes tinged with surrealism that unfold in a small village in the period before the revolution, with the central focus on the unhappy love story between a young couple there. In images of expressive beauty and with delicate humor, Abuladze tells of old traditions and new times. The film may begin and end with death, but life also triumphs within it.

IKO SHASHVI MGALOBELI (There Was a Singing Blackbird, Otar Iosseliani, USSR 1970, 23.10., with guest Otar Iosseliani) depicts 36 hours in the life of young musician Gia, who plays the timpani in the Tbilisi orchestra and is renowned for turning up at the very last minute, as spontaneous human contacts seem more important to him than his work. Gia is a non-conformist dreamer, entirely incapable of finding a relationship with time that harmonizes with is surroundings.

MZIS QALAQI (City of the Sun, Rati Oneli, Georgia 2017, 30.10.) Up to 50 percent of the world’s manganese, a vital metal across the globe, used to be mined in Chiatura, in western Georgia. Today, it resembles an apocalyptic ghost town. MSIS KALAKI portrays a few of the remaining inhabitants. Music teacher Zurab dismantles ramshackle concrete buildings and sells the iron girders to make some money on the side. Archil still works in the mine but his real passion is the local amateur theatre group. Despite being malnourished, two young female athletes still train stoically for the next Olympic Games. Rati Oneli’s documentary provides fascinating insights into a living environment whose bleak industrial ruins appear colossal and like a film set at the same time.

DEDUNA (David Dschanelidze, USSR 1987, 31.10.) is “one of the least known, but most beautiful Georgian films, a modest, poetically condensed chronical of life in a village, viewed from the perspective of a ten-year-old girl.” (Ulrich Gregor) Not a lot happens in this film – going to school, working with animals, visiting an orphan boy – and yet it contains the essence of an entire life.

SCHEREKILEBI (The Eccentrics, Eldar Shengelaia, USSR 1974, 31.10.) Two seemingly eccentric men have landed in prison due to their inability to fit in and build a miraculous flying machine to escape a reality they see as grey and colorless. A bizarre, biting comedy about two outsiders set at some indeterminate place at some indeterminate time, at once a plea for the power of dreams and a hidden critique of the system.

arsenal cinema: Magical History Tour – Of Shadows, Sprits, and Supernatural Powers

07:00 pm Cinema 2

Schamanen im blinden Land

*Schamanen im blinden Land
Michael Oppitz Nepal/FRF/USA 1980
DCP OV/GeS 224 min

arsenal cinema: Family Affairs – Cinematic Relationships Between Georgia and Arsenal

07:30 pm Cinema 1


*Deduna David Dschanelidse USSR 1987
35 mm OV/EnS 65 min

arsenal cinema: Family Affairs – Cinematic Relationships Between Georgia and Arsenal

09:00 pm Cinema 1


*Scherekilebi The Eccentrics
Eldar Schengelaia USSR 1974
35 mm OV/EnS 79 min