For several years now, Georgian cinema has been blossoming to an astonishing extent. Features and above all documentaries by a young generation of filmmakers have been receiving acclaim at international film festivals, such as Salomé Jashi’s Taming the Garden and Alexandre Koberidze’s What Do We See When We Look at the Sky at the last Berlinale, both of whom have received or are about to receive a theatrical release in Germany. This forges a connection to the rich film tradition of the country, which produced one of the most significant and productive cinematographies of all the Soviet republics and birthed its own characteristic style marked by surreal humor, a sharp eye for absurdities, and a penchant for the fantastical. Today’s films from the country retain this inventiveness and are equally characterized by an explicit proximity to the present and a gift for precise observation. The ten films from 2017 to 2021 that we are presenting in this program explore Georgia’s complex recent history since the break-up of the Soviet Union and its newly won independence, social upheavals, and the oft-precarious relationship between society and the individual. Most of the films are by young directors and are often their debut works. These rub up against the new features by Lana Gogoberidze and Dito Tsintsadze, both of whom can look back on comprehensive filmographies, are counted among the country’s most well-known filmmakers and who we happy to welcome back to Arsenal once again. Our streaming area arsenal 3 will also have a Georgian focus this month: we are showing six recently restored Georgian films from the 20s to the 80s.
A program with the support of the Georgian National Film Center. With thanks to Levan Lomjaria. (al)