Runtime: 71 minutes
Writer/director: Tamar Shavgulidze
Actors: Nino Kasradze, Ketevan Gegeshidze, Kato Kalatozishvili
By Caz Armstrong
This film-of-two-halves by Georgian director Tamar Shavgulidze is a rumination on the theme of reuniting and adrift souls coming back together.
A teenage girl called Irina (Ekaterina Kalatozishvili) sits in a sun-drenched garden reading aloud to herself. “I sit nursing the rooted love I first planted as a sample…” She’s waiting for family members who never show up. But the person who does mysteriously arrive is another Irina (Nino Kasradze), the girl’s namesake.
It transpires that Irina’s mother Nana (Ketevan Gegeshidze) and the older Irina were lovers when they were younger. Now reunited for one day they reminisce about younger days, and learn about each other’s lives in the intervening years.
The flipside of the film is a 70s-esque avant-garde sci-fi , albeit on a similar theme of meeting again one day. Quite a jolt from the garden of the first part.
The camera work is striking in its changeability. The film opens with an incredibly long static shot of the younger Irina and her mother as they discuss their relationship and their nature. When the older Irina arrives the camera becomes handheld and constantly fluid. Perhaps some joie de vivre has been reinjected into Nana and awakened something more free.
Flashbacks to the pair as teenagers seem more like a hazy memory projected by the older women than narrative fact. They play cards, watch movies outdoors or sit at a table in the garden whiling away the hours together. Their younger selves mirror the adult versions’ sitting positions and show us what emotions might be going unspoken in their older selves.
There is no strong narrative plot here but we are asked to sit and meditate for a moment on how lives can go in different directions but there is always the possibility of coming back together.
It would perhaps have been nice to sit with the women in their sun-drenched garden and dig deeper into their lives instead of jumping into a sci-fi ending. It’s not that it didn’t work at all, it’s just a very bold move that doesn’t make the most immediate sense and so is quite jarring.
This is a film about souls meeting again. About how lifetimes can go by but you can still be reunited with people who have a deep meaning to you. It’s gentle and mysterious, bordering on slow given the strength of the plot and the drawn out lengths of some shots. But it’s a meditation on a theme and that theme will hopefully make audiences reflect on the people who have previously touched their lives.