Films about Tbilisi, Part 2

Georgian Director, Otar Iosseliani, speaking of Tbilisi: “It has always been an Armenian city – as it was built by Armenians. Armenians living in Tbilisi are builders, craftsmen, artists and philanthropists. They have built an amazing city, wonderful!”

I agree with Iosseliani. When thinking of old Tbilisi, personally, I always remember ethnic Armenian craftsmen sitting in front of a dukani (tavern). I don’t know why. Maybe I once saw a photo and it stayed in my mind. The charm of the Old Tbilisi district is probably most well-presented in the film “The Color of Pomegranates” (see the July 17th edition of Georgia Today). Other movies tell stories of a relatively modern Tbilisi but each of them gives us an opportunity to enjoy wonderful views of Tbilisi and its streets.

April / 1961

Director: Otar Iosseliani

Starring: Titina Chanturia, Gia Chirakadze

Genre: Drama

The main plot of the film April is the following: Vazha and Mzia’s love story begins in the narrow, noisy streets of the old city which is just being built. The newlyweds move into their new apartment and, though empty, it is filled with their love and life. Yet, for full happiness, the neighboring couple suggests they buy furniture for their new flat. Ironically, as the house is filled with objects, so their relationship fills with problems.

Since the film depicted the relationship of an average couple from Tbilisi, the city where everyone was infected by the illness of acquisitiveness, society responded negatively. The objects and furniture seen in the movie were exact copies of the ones that almost every family in the city owned and loved and, as people saw themselves in the plot, the story of this young couple enraged each and every one of them.

Pirosmani / 1969

Director: Giorgi Shengelaya

Starring: Avtandil Varazi, Boris Tsipuria, Zurab Kapianize

Genre: Drama, Adventure

“Pirosmani” presents events from the life of Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani. It was a great success right after its release and won a number of important awards: the Azolo International Film Festival Award (1974) and the Gran-Prix “Golden Hugo” at the Chicago International Film Festival (1974).

The plot of the story develops as Nikala comes from Mirzaani village to Tbilisi and starts working as a train conductor. After saving some money he opens a tavern. He refuses to charge poor people, however, and soon the business fails and he is obliged to close it down. He starts painting signs for other people’s taverns to make a living. In one of these taverns, professional painters get interested in his works, find Pirosmani and invite him to a meeting. Yet, for various reasons eventually they grow to dislike his work and the artist himself is ridiculed in a caricature published in a local newspaper. Lonely and ill, Nikala dies in poverty under a staircase.

Autumn Sun / 1973

Director: Temur Palavandishvili

Starring: Medea Japaridze, Otar Megvinetukhutsesi, Sesilia Takaishvili, Elene Akhvediani, Lado Gudiashvili

Genre: Lyrical Drama

Autumn Sun was the first full-length film by Temur Palavandishvili. The script was written by Rezo Tabukashvili, husband of the leading actress, Medea Japaridze and the soundtrack was composed by Vazha Azarashvili. The Old Tbilisi district is put in the foreground, not only as a residential neighborhood, but as an aesthetic phenomenon as such. Moreover, the script is an autobiographical illustration of the real life events surrounding Rezo Tabukashvili and his wife Medea Japaridze.

Tsiko Inauri

30 July 2015 21:49