Discovering Georgian Cinema

September 26, 2014–April 19, 2015

Inspired by BAM/PFA's significant holdings of Soviet Georgian films, Discovering Georgian Cinema explores the rich cinematic tradition that has emerged from this distinctive cultural milieu during the past century. Including over fifty programs presented over seven months, this series offers multiple opportunities to encounter an impressive range of stylistic approaches and thematic concerns, as well as lyrical depictions of Georgia's spectacular landscape.

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  • Upcoming
    Films
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    Films
  • Past
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Past Films

  • The Legend of Suram Fortress

    • Friday, March 6 7 PM
    Dodo Abasize, Sergei Paradjanov
    1985

    Imported Print!

  • [no title]

    • Saturday, February 28 5:45PM

    Tengiz Abuladze (USSR, 1984/1987). Imported 35mm Print! Back by Popular Demand! One of the first Russian films to deal with the terrors of the Stalin era, Repentance combines symbolism and surrealism for this look at a paranoid dictator. “Mordantly funny . . . as artful as it is sobering” (NY Times). (153 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Saturday, February 21 6:15PM

    Merab Kokochashvili (USSR, 1968). Imported Print! The modern world comes to one individualistic worker's forsaken section of the Soviet empire in Merab Kokochashvili's neorealist village drama, one of the most singularly pessimistic works of sixties Soviet film. A true rarity. (80 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Sunday, February 15 2:00PM

    Otar Iosseliani (France, 1994). Otar Iosseliani's fascinating four-hour documentary presents the history of this former Soviet republic through interwoven images of landscapes, artwork, the civil war, and clips from other Georgian films. (240 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Friday, February 13 8:40PM

    Eldar Shengelaia, Tamaz Meliava (USSR, 1963). Imported Print! Back by Popular Demand! Shephards battle the elements and manmade temptations in this strikingly shot Georgian work, an entry into the 1964 Cannes Film Festival. (97 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Saturday, February 7 8:30PM

    Kote Mikaberidze (USSR, 1929). Gogol meets Chaplin in this riotous, scathingly antibureaucratic satire, one of the eccentric high points of Soviet silent cinema. Stop-motion bits of puppetry and animation, as well as expressionist decor and camera angles, make My Grandmother seem like a blast from the future, not the past. (65 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Sunday, February 1 2:00PM

    Lana Gogoberidze (USSR, 1984). Imported Print! Lana Gogoberidze in person. The history of Georgia in the twentieth century is reimagined through the life and times of woman in Lana Gogoberidz's moving drama, which premiered at Cannes in 1984. (105 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Saturday, January 31 5:00PM

    Lana Gogoberidze (USSR, 1977). Imported Print! Lana Gogoberidze in person. A bold mixture of documentary and social-psychological drama-and the first film to make mention of Stalin's camps-Some Interviews on Personal Matters makes powerful statements about women, work, family, and marriage that earned it international acclaim as the first feminist film of Soviet cinema. (95 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Thursday, January 29 7:30PM

    Otar Iosseliani (USSR, 1975). In this exquisite film by Georgian director Otar Iosseliani, a string quartet's visit to a small village is treated with the gentle satire usually associated with the Czech New Wave. “Iosseliani is (Georgia's) greatest director” (Tom Luddy). (94 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Saturday, January 24 6:30PM

    Otar Iosseliani (USSR, 1967). A young boy gets his first job (in a wine factory!), and soon observes that corruption is the best way to get by. Falling Leaves is typical of the best Georgian films in seeming light and low-key at first, until the satire begins to cut very deep. (80 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Saturday, January 24 8:15PM

    Otar Iosseliani (USSR, 1971). Iosseliani's wry comedy, set in Tbilisi, follows a young musician who is perpetually in a hurry and late for every appointment because his life is so full of chance encounters. A genial, uplifting song to all those who choose life and love over lesser things, like work. (80 mins)

  • [no title]

    • Thursday, January 22 7:30PM

    Otar Iosseliani (USSR, 1958–64). Imported Prints! A rare chance to see the early films by one of the great Georgian filmmakers, Otar Iosseliani. Titles include Akvareli, Song About a Flower, April, and Cast Iron. (93 mins)

  • Paradise Lost

    • Sunday, December 14 4 PM
    Abel Gance
    France, 1939

    Davit Rondeli (USSR, 1938). Imported Print! This hilarious satire on the follies and parasitic lifestyles of the fallen nobility was termed the best Georgian comedy of the 1930s. A rare chance to see Soviet Georgian silent film comedy. (85 mins)

  • Saba

    • Saturday, December 13 6:30 PM

    Mikheil Chiaureli (USSR, 1929). Judith Rosenberg on piano. This silent comic melodrama on the evils of alcohol was filmed on location in Tbilisi, and serves as a rare glimpse of that city circa 1929. (100 mins)

  • The Swimmer

    • Sunday, December 7 4 PM

    Irakli Kvirikadze (USSR, 1984). An amusing and artfully crafted tale of three generations of long-distance swimmers, and the several decades of Georgian history their lives represent. Preceded by Kirikadze's The Jar (1971), which transposes Pirandello's story to rural Georgia. (134 mins)

  • Flight of the Sparrows

    • Saturday, December 6 6 PM

    Teimur Babluani (USSR, 1980) New 35mm Print! A fistfight on a crowded train triggers something far larger in this intriguing Georgian allegory, one of Georgian cinema's standout works of the eighties. (60 mins)

  • I Am Cuba

    • Saturday, November 29 5:30 PM

    Mikhail Kalatozov (Cuba/USSR, 1964). Made in 1962 as an act of Soviet-Cuban friendship, and written by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, this is an extraordinary example of "pure" cinema in the service of politics. "A deliriously one-of-a-kind movie, wildly schizophrenic in its bizarre mix of Slavic solemnity and Latin sensuality" (Telluride Film Festival). (138 mins)

  • The Cranes Are Flying

    • Friday, November 28 5:30 PM

    Mikhail Kalatozov (USSR, 1957). Mikhail Kalatozov's stunningly visualized drama of young love and ambition destroyed by war. A key work of both the post-Stalin era and all of world cinema. Winner, Palme d'Or, 1958 Cannes Film Festival. (95 mins)

  • Salt for Svanetia

    • Saturday, November 22 6:30 PM

    Mikhail Kalatozov (USSR, 1930). Judith Rosenberg on piano. A snowbound, rock-hewn village in the harsh Caucasus is the setting for his bracing, rhythmically cut early masterpiece from the director of I Am Cuba. Nature, politics, and cinema combine in this salute to “the dynamic sublime.” (66 mins)

  • A Nail in the Boot

    • Saturday, November 22 8 PM

    Mikhail Kalatozov (USSR, 1930/1932). Imported Print! Judith Rosenberg on piano. The saying “For want of a nail, a war was lost” is brought to dynamic, stirring life in this rapid-fire look at the Red Army. Another early masterpiece from the director of I Am Cuba. Followed by Patrick Cazal's documentary on the director, Hurricane Kalatozov (2010). (128 mins)

  • Amerikanka

    • Thursday, November 20 7 PM

    Leo Esakya (USSR, 1930). Imported Print! Introduced by Nikolay Mikhailovich Borodachev and Peter Bagrov. Judith Rosenberg on piano. A rediscovered archival treasure from famed Russian studio Gosfilmofond, this Potemkin on Park Row is a stylistically original piece of revolutionary propaganda, which tracks the radical activities of an underground print shop. (76 mins)

  • Khabarda

    • Thursday, November 20 8:45 PM

    Mikheil Chiaureli (USSR, 1931). Imported Print! Introduced by Nikolay Mikhailovich Borodachev and Peter Bagrov. Judith Rosenberg on piano. Set in Tbilisi, Khabarda is a satire that plays on the tension between petit bourgeois values and the incoming sweep of Communist ideology. Another rare, rediscovered find from the archives of Gosfilmofond. (64 mins)

  • Blind Dates

    • Tuesday, November 18 7 PM

    Levan Koguashvili (Georgia, 2013). Levan Koguashvili in person. A forty-something bachelor seeks true love, even if he is still living at home with his parents, in this whimsical Georgian love story. (95 mins)

  • Street Days & Women from Georgia

    • Monday, November 17 7 PM

    Levan Koguashvili (Georgia/US, 2009) Bay Area Premiere! Levan Koguashvili in person. This eye-opening, compelling documentary sheds light on the hardships experienced by Georgian women in America. Followed by Street Days, a powerful character study of a drug addict struggling to survive in Tbilisi. (143 mins)

  • Our Courtyard

    • Sunday, November 9 4 PM

    Rezo Chkheidze (USSR, 1956). The picaresque village comedy is updated for Georgia's postwar urban realities in Rezo Chkheidze's lyrical tale of life, love, and collective labor inside a chaotic Tbilisi apartment block. Stars future filmmaker Giorgi Shengelaia. (89 mins)

  • Buba

    • Saturday, November 8 6 PM

    Noutsa Gogoberidze (USSR, 1930) Imported Print! Judith Rosenberg on piano. Long suppressed and nearly written out of film history, this exceptional documentary was an artistic collaboration between Georgia's first female director and the noted avant-garde painter David Kakabadze. With Felicità (2009), a deadpan, hilarious short on the work of women. (69 mins)

  • Pirosmani

    • Sunday, November 2 4 PM

    Giorgi Shengelaia (USSR, 1969). This poetic, visually stunning biography of the great Georgian primitive artist Nikoloz (Niko) Pirosmanishvili won the Grand Prize at the Chicago Film Festival. “A splendid and innovative work of poetic biography” (New Yorker). (85 mins)

  • The Wishing Tree

    • Saturday, November 1 6 PM

    Tengiz Abuladze (USSR, 1977). Over twenty stories make up this episodic Georgian pastorale, set in the pre-Revolutionary birthplace of the famous painter Pirosmani. “Coordinated with the utmost consideration for what pleases the eye” (Hollywood Reporter). (108 mins)

  • Eliso

    • Sunday, October 26 4 PM

    Nikoloz Shengelaia (USSR, 1928). Live Music by Trio Kavkasia. One of Russian and Georgian cinema's greatest silent-film achievements, this historical epic evokes the tragic fate of a nation pacified in 1864 by the Tsarist Russian Empire. Features beautiful portrayals of Caucasus customs and celebrations. Special admission prices apply. (80 mins)

  • Eliso

    • Saturday, October 25 6:30 PM

    Nikoloz Shengelaia (USSR, 1928). Live Music by Trio Kavkasia. One of Russian and Georgian cinema's greatest silent-film achievements, this historical epic evokes the tragic fate of a nation pacified in 1864 by the Tsarist Russian Empire. Features beautiful portrayals of Caucasus customs and celebrations. Special admission prices apply. (80 mins)

  • Georgian Kulturfilms

    • Sunday, October 19 4 PM

    Introduced by Nino Dzandzava. Judith Rosenberg on piano. This special program showcases recent efforts to digitally restore examples of the kulturfilm boom of the late 1920s and early 1930s, films made by young cinephile directors in Soviet Georgia. A fascinating sampling of silent cinema from Georgia. (104 mins)

  • Molba

    • Friday, October 17 8:30 PM

    Tengiz Abuladze (USSR, 1967). Poetry and song combine in this black-and-white work, based on two epic poems by Georgian writer Vaza Psavela. “Magisterially shot” (National Film Theatre of London). (80 mins)

  • Magdana's Donkey

    • Friday, October 17 7 PM

    Tengiz Abuladze, Revaz Chkeidze (USSR, 1955). Eisensteinian flair merges with an inventive Georgian musical score in this tale of a widow, her three children, and a donkey. Winner, Best Fiction Film, Cannes 1956. (67 mins)

  • The Case of Tariel Mklavadze

    • Sunday, October 12 4 PM

    Ivan Perestiani (USSR, 1925). Imported Print! Lecture by Peter Rollberg. Judith Rosenberg on piano. This courtroom drama about social injustice combines an innovative use of flashbacks with elements of subtle satire and melodrama. A “masterwork of emotionally compelling narrative filmmaking”(Sergei Kapterev). (98 mins)

  • Three Lives: Parts 1 & 2

    • Saturday, October 11 5:30 PM

    Ivan Perestiani (USSR, 1924). Judith Rosenberg on piano. Distinctive location shooting, inspired compositions, and beautiful use of natural light lend an atmospheric, almost documentary quality to this silent work set in late nineteenth-century Georgia. (150 mins)

  • Little Red Devils

    • Saturday, October 4 6:30 PM

    Ivan Perestiani (USSR, 1923). Judith Rosenberg on piano. Three daredevils volunteer as scouts in the Red Cavalry-and encounter famed anarchist Nestor Makhno-in Perestiani's entertaining silent film, which borrows from the American adventure styles of Douglas Fairbanks. (100 mins)

  • Will There Be a Theater Up There?!

    • Tuesday, September 30 7 PM

    Nana Janelidze (Georgia, 2011). Bay Area Premiere! Nana Janelidze in person. Part historical essay, part re-created biography this film uses the tragic circumstances of the twentieth century as a backdrop for the chronicle of a Georgian family. Preceded by Janelidze's The Family. (80 mins)

  • An Unusual Exhibition

    • Monday, September 29 7 PM

    Eldar Shengelaia (USSR, 1968). Eldar Shengelaia in person. A sculptor aspires to a life of creativity, but finds reality-in the form of conformity, bureaucracy, and compromise-far more difficult. A tragicomedy of daily proportions, and one of Georgian cinema's best-received works. (96 mins)

  • Repentance

    • Sunday, September 28 4 PM

    Tengiz Abuladze (USSR, 1984/1987). Imported 35mm Print! Nana Janelidze in person. One of the first Russian films to deal with the terrors of the Stalin era, Repentance combines symbolism and surrealism for this look at a paranoid dictator. “Mordantly funny . . . as artful as it is sobering” (NY Times). (153 mins)

  • The White Caravan

    • Saturday, September 27 8:30 PM

    Eldar Shengelaia, Tamaz Meliava (USSR, 1963). Imported Print! Eldar Shengelaia in person. Shephards battle the elements and manmade temptations in this strikingly shot Georgian work, an entry into the 1964 Cannes Film Festival. (97 mins)

  • Twenty-Six Commissars

    • Saturday, September 27 6:30 PM

    Nikoloz Shengelaia (USSR, 1932). Imported Print! Eldar Shengelaia in Person. Judith Rosenberg on piano. Set against a backdrop of oil derricks and sand dunes, this impressive silent-era feature about the geopolitical struggle for the control of oil fields is still relevant today. Preceded by Work at Oil Derricks and Oil Extraction, a fascinating 1907 look at Baku. (77 mins)

  • Blue Mountains

    • Friday, September 26 7:30 PM
    Eldar Shengelaya
    1984

    Eldar Shengelaia (USSR, 1984). Digital Restoration! Eldar Shengelaia in person. Part Jacques Tati, part Ermanno Olmi, this inspired satire by one of Georgia's leading directors is a charming and disarming critique of bureaucracy. (97 mins)