In Bloom…a movie review from Roz Tarszisz

September 22, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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Everyday life is tough in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1992.

Georgia is newly independent from the Soviet Union and civil war is raging in the provinces. There are breadlines and food shortages in the rundown city while electricity supply is uncertain.

The story follows two 14 year old girls navigating the complex ties of friendship, love and family in uncertain times. We follow them in their everyday lives before school breaks up for the summer. Eka (Lika Babluani), lives with her mother and older sister. Her father is not around – later we discover he is in jail – and her mother is busy and distracted.   Natia (Mariam Bokeria) looks older than her best friend and is attractive to males. She lives with her parents, grandmother and younger brother in a state of chaos and disharmony – her father is usually drunk and her mother is constantly fighting with him.

Lado, a young admirer, gives Natia a hand gun to protect herself and we might be forgiven for thinking this is a set up for disaster. Eka is dismissive of the gift and wants nothing to do with it but when Natia gives her the gun to protect herself from a couple of bullies she reluctantly takes it. Kote, a young thug, is Natia’s more persistent admirer and he is determined to marry her.

This film has won many European awards and plaudits. The two young leads, with no previous acting experience, were found after a long search and co-director Simon Gross has elicited fine performances from both of them. The cinematography captures a city on the edge of decay while the story shows how everyday life is difficult and uncertain for its inhabitants.

The setting of the film at a particular time in Georgia’s history is not that far in the past. Co-Director and writer Nana Ekvtimishvili has drawn on her own memories for the screenplay. Even allowing for the troubled times, it appears that the some social mores were almost medieval.

However this coming of age tale does have charm and we care about what happens to the characters.

2014. Rated M 102 mins in Georgian with English subtitles

Release date 25 September 2014

Starring Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria

Written by Nana Ekvtimishvili

Directed by Nana Ekvtimshvili and Simon Gross

3 out 5

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