An Unusual Exhibition

Reflective and provocative, Eldar Shengelaia's An Unusual Exhibition is a tragicomedy about a sculptor who, in order to feed his family, develops a niche carving tombstones bearing the likeness of the now departed. The work wryly hits home on several sensitive subjects-art practice, socialist realism, and social conventions-in a way that initially caused ripples in the official Soviet cinema establishment and ultimately established Shengelaia as an independent voice. Film historian Peter Rollberg has noted the parallels to Eldar's brother Giorgi Shengelaia's Pirosmani: both are “reflections on the conditions of artistic creativity, juxtaposing the needs of the family and society at large to the demands of pure artistry.”

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