‘Dede': Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2017

A immature lady rebels opposite centuries of confirmed tradition in executive Mariam Khatchvani’s prize-winning underline debut.

The gloomy stranglehold that tradition and damned reason over remote male-dominated communities might be informed thespian material, yet a immature Georgian writer-director Mariam Khatchvani gives these themes a uninformed feminist turn in her finely etched entrance underline Dede. Shooting in her alpine home segment of Ushguli with a mostly dilettante cast, Khatchvani draws on her possess family story to account a predestine of a immature lady fighting for singular freedoms opposite an rough enlightenment of bride kidnapping, organised marriages and fatal family feuds.

An component story with a concept summary and a folkloric, fatalistic, roughly ballad-like feel, Dede won a Special Jury Prize in a East of a West foe during Karlovy Vary film festival final week. The total weight of general prolongation partners and Georgia’s rising repute for peculiarity art-house play could assistance palliate a thoroughfare from plain festival engagement to niche placement item.

Dede opens in 1992, in a issue of Georgia’s post-Soviet polite war. Gegi (George Babluani) and David (Nukri Khatchvani) are brothers in arms returning home to a high snowy peaks of Svaneti. Gegi saved David’s life on a battlefield, and is so invited to be guest of respect during a latter’s approaching matrimony to his fiancee Dina (Natia Vibliani). But by fatal concidence, Dina and Gegi have also depressed in adore during a passing wartime confront yet even meaningful any other’s names. Dina tries to mangle off her organised matrimony to David, yet her mutiny threatens to overturn confirmed congenital energy and contrition both families. “A lady has no say,” an angry David tells her. “Even if we hatred me all your life we will still be married to me”.

David owes Gegi his life, yet not his wife. Even so, a open chagrin drives him to apparently dedicate self-murder on a sport trip. Initially suspected of murder, Gegi is privileged of shame during a weird quasi-religious rite hosted a encampment elders. He is finally giveaway to marry Dina, notwithstanding a low difference this causes with her comparison family members.

Five years later, a integrate have a happy kinship and a immature son Mose (Mose Khatchvani), yet slow bad blood stays from Dina’s preference to marry for love. When Gegi dies in an opaquely rubbed off-screen tragedy, it feels like a gods are punishing her for her medium attempts during unconstrained agency. Then Dina’s ling-time admirer Girshel (Girshel Chelidze) forcibly final her palm in matrimony and she turns full circle, from vassal to released lady and behind again. One step forward, dual stairs back.

Even though Dede takes place only dual decades ago, many of a story feels most older, not only in a primitive gender politics yet also in a component setting, normal dress and antique superstitions. Electricity, complicated medicine and motorized ride are all wanting in these high towering villages, with horses still a categorical means of transport during prolonged snowbound winters.

Dede depicts a cruelly back existence, yet does not lay out a dispute between tradition and swell in carelessly binary terms. Shooting in Ushguli, a UNESCO universe birthright site with a failing denunciation and exploding infrastructure, Khatchvani clearly has churned emotions about a homeland that she still describes as “paradise”. A immature clergyman serves as her spokesman in a latter half of a film, advising Girshel to dump his unrequited explain on Dina. “Some etiquette are good, some should be forgotten,” he says.

Formally normal in style, Dede is a small over-reliant on account fluke and awkward archetypes. Khatchvani leaves some intriguing questions unresolved, particularly a teasing probability that Girshel was complicit in a off-screen deaths of both David and Gegi. The culmination also strikes an changeable note that could be seen as a obey to congenital power, yet a underlying summary is emphatically feminist even if Dina grudgingly accepts concede in a face of singular options. In any box a concept subtext really feels incomparable than a specific context, drumming into a abounding literary origin of wronged heroines stretching from Tess of a D’Urbervilles and A Doll’s House to The Color Purple and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Khatchvani creates considerable use of singular resources, generally deliberation a brief fire was full of hardships and setbacks, including clashes with a internal police. Restless and jumpy during first, Konstantin Mindia Esadze’s camerawork shortly settles into a painterly stillness, framing ant-like humans opposite epic towering vistas. The roughly wholly dilettante expel justify themselves well, while Tako Jordania’s gangling measure helps this understated yet interesting play build adult a clever romantic assign over a prolonged run.

Venue: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Production companies: 20 Steps, Film and Music Entertainment, MP Film Production, Montauk Film Production
Cast: Natia Vibliani, George Babluani, Girshel Chelidze, Nukri Khatchvani, Spartak Parjiani, Sofia Charkviani, Mose Khatchvani
Director: Mariam Khatchvani
Screenwriters: Mariam Khatchvani, Vladimer Katcharava, Irakli Solomanashvili
Producer: Vladimer Katcharava
Cinematographer: Konstantin Mindia Esadze
Editor: Levan Kukhashvili
Music: Tako Jordania
Sales company: Wide, Paris
96 minutes