History of the Georgian Cinema

Article Index


Some of the films produced in this period were censored and kept from public release. Otar Ioseliani's works were suppressed on several occasions, while Abuladze's famous Monanieba (1984) was released only three years later. This feature film of Abuladze became one of the most famous and controversial movies of this period as it portrayed the brutal reality of Stalin's purges and had a long-lasting effect on raising political consciousness in the Soviet Union. Sergey Paradzhanov was another major director in the Georgian cinema, whose works earned him worldwide acclaim. His Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors (1965) became a breakthrough film and international success, garnering the British Film Academy Award in 1966. His next film, Sayat nova (The Colour of Pomegranates), revealed his mastery of film art and complexity of his vision that produced a series of unforgettable scenes. In 1980s, Paradzhanov directed two major films Legenda o Suramskoi kreposti (1985) and Ashik Kerib (1988) that further enhanced his stature as the preeminent Soviet director of his generation.The Georgian film industry fell in disarray in the early 1990s, when Georgia found itself in the midst of a civil war, ethno-territorial conflicts and economic crisis. Nevertheless, a number of popular films were produced, including Laka, Gamis Tsekva, Zgvarze, Isini, Ara, Megobaro, Otsnebata Sasaplao, Rcheuli, Ik Chemtan, Ak Tendeba and others. Babluani directed Udzinarta Mze in 1992 and won the Silver Bear prize at the Berlin Festival. Dito Tsintsadze debuted with Dakhatuli tsre in 1988 and later produced Sakhli (1991), Stumrebi (1991) and Zghvarze (1993). Many directors emigrated to Europe and Russia. Otar Ioseliani and Mikheil Kobakhidze continued their career in France while Nana Jorjadze and Dito Tsintsadze worked in Germany; Jorjadze enjoyed a very successful career, winning the Caméra d'Or at Cannes for her Robinzoniada, anu chemi ingliseli papa (1986) and receiving a nomination for the American Academy Award for her Les Mille et une recettes du cuisinier amoureux (The Chef in Love, 1997). In 2001, the National Center of Cinematography was established in order to revive the Georgian film industry. An international film festival had been organized annually in Tbilisi since 1999. Unfortunately, a massive fire in mid-January 2005 destroyed a large number of the Georgian movies after the storehouse of the Georgian Film Studio burned down in Tbilisi.


by Alexander Mikaberidze