Georgian Cinema: Dreaming at the Crossroads
Screening Dates
  • September 23, 2023 6:00
Vancouver Premiere

“[A] consummately composed feature debut … Resolutely interrogates its own methodologies, shaking up its dramatic, formal, and philosophical foundations in the process.”

Lawrence Garcia, Cinema Scope

Kulumbegashvili’s widely acclaimed first feature starts off as something like a feminist critique of patriarchal Georgian society and religion, but its disturbing narrative develops in unpredictable and even inexplicable ways. Yana (Ia Sukhitashvili) lives with her minister-husband and young son in a small town where their close-knit Jehovah’s Witness community faces extreme prejudice from the Orthodox majority. Their meeting hall is firebombed during a service, and subsequent traumas force Yana to re-evaluate her religion, social role, marriage, family—her very place in the world. Her resistance to the oppression she suffers is deeply compelling—comparisons have been made to Haneke and the Romanian New Wave. The film is gorgeously shot in 35mm by Arseni Khachaturan, adopting a subtle colour palette. Kulumbegashvili’s long takes and precisely focused storytelling point of view, rather than give the film a dryness in its austerity, subtly lends a fantastical and spiritual side to Yana’s story” (Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook).

Advisory: Beginning contains scenes of sexual violence.

In Georgian with English subtitles

Best Film, Director, Actress, Screenplay
San Sebastián International Film Festival 2020