Monday, April 23, 2018

History of the Georgian Cinema

In the 1950s-1960s, the Georgian cinema saw the establishment of the Gruzia Film studio and the rise of a young generation of talented directors and screenwriters. Tengiz Abuladze and Rezo Chkheidzecollaborated on the 1954 feature film Magdanas Lurja, which earned them the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and first prize at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 1956. Abuladze's other film Someone Else's Children (1956) won awards at the international film festivals in Tashkent, Helsinki, London and Tehran. In 1958, Mikhail Kalatozov (Kalatozishvili) achieved great success with his Letiat zhuravli that won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and he went on to direct the successful films Neotpravlennoe pizmo (1959) and Red Tent (1969).


The period between the late 1960s and the 1980s was the golden age of the Georgian film industry, which produced up to 60 films a year. In 1972, the Faculty of Cinema was established at the Shota Rustaveli Institute of Theater and later developed into the Tbilisi Institute of Theater and Film. The studio employed such prominent directors as Giorgi Danelia, Eldar and Giorgi Shengelaia, Otar Ioseliani, Lana Gogoberidze, Mikhail Kobakhidze, Nana Jorjadze, Dito Tsintsadze, Sergey Paradzhanov, Goderdzi Chokheli and others. The period is noteworthy for a remarkable collaboration of the creative artists Rezo Gabriadze and Eldar Shengelaia, who produced such memorable films as Arachveulebrivi gamofena (1968), Sherekilebi (1973) and Tsiferi mtebi (1983). In 1962, Abuladze produced one of his most popular feature films, Grandma, Iliko, Illarion And Me, based on Nodar Dumbadze's novel. One of the most acclaimed Georgian films of this period Otets soldata was directed by Rezo Chkheidze in 1964, with Sergo Zakariadze in the leading role. Chkheidze went on to direct a series of hits, including Gimilis bichebi (1969), Nergebi (1972), Mshobliuro chemo mitsav (1980), Tskhovreba Don Kikhotisa da Sancho Pansasi (1988). Abuladze's Vedreba (1967) won a grand prix at the San Remo Film Festival while his other film Natvris Khe (1976) was also honored at film festivals in Riga, Tehran, Moscow, etc. Giorgi Shengelaia directed the popular movies Pirosmani (1969), Matsi Khvitia (1966), Alaverdoba, Rats ginakhavs, vegar nakhav (1965), Khareba da Gogia (1987), Sikvaruli Kvelas unda (1989) and the musical Veris ubnis melodiebi (1973). Ioseliani worked on Giorgobistve (1968), Iko shahsvi mgalobeli (1970) and Pastoral (1975) while Kobakhidze produced Kortsili (1964), Qolga (1966) and Musikosebi (1969). Lana Gogoberishvili achieved critical acclaim with Gelati (1958) and later directed Me vkhedav mzes (1965), Peristsvaleba (1968), Rotsa akvavda nushi (1972), Aurzauri salkhinteshi (1975), Ramodenime interviu pirad sakitkhze (1979) and Oromtriali (1986). This period is also noteworthy for a number of short films, including Kvevri, Serenada, Ghvinis Kurdebi, Peola and Rekordi, that remain popular to the present day. Goderdzi Chokheli directed Mekvle, Adgdgoma, Adamianta Sevda, Utskho, Agdgomis Batkani and Tsodvis shvilebi. In 1979, Temur Babluani made a debut with Motatseba and followed with Begurebis gadaprena (1980) and Kukaracha (1982).