‘A Room Of My Own’: Karlovy Vary Review | Reviews
Dir: Ioseb ‘Soso’ Bliadze. Georgia / Germany. 2022. 107 minutes.
The impressive latest form of Georgian cinema continues A separate room (Chemi otakhi), the highly accomplished second feature of screenwriter-director Ioseb ‘Soso’ Bliadze. Confirms the promise of his 2021 debut Otar’s death, Bliadze has composed a sensitive study of a meek 24-year-old woman’s gradual emergence from her skull under the influence of mercury by a hedonistic apartment buddy. Further festival games are provided.
Becomes increasingly captivating and rewarding as it moves toward a circular finale
Co-written with Taki Mumladze, who plays the lead role as Tina, My own room is one of the first dramatic features that has successfully incorporated the Covid-19 pandemic: Tbilisi is a place of curfews and face masks. The social distancing and atomization that comes with such restrictions add an additional psychological burden for Tina as she struggles to cope with the aftermath of a violent assault committed by her then-husband.
The spouse, Datuna – often mentioned, but never seen in the film – was motivated by jealousy when she discovered that Tina was having an affair with her best friend Beka (Giorgi Tsereteli). When the film begins, Tina arrives in Tbilisi and moves in with a stranger, Megi (Mariam Khundadze) – a temporary measure until she and Beka can move to their mother’s place. But when Beka unexpectedly breaks up with Tina (in a particularly well-handled scene), she finds herself back under the same roof as the unpredictable, hard-hitting Megi.
This event can evoke memories of Silvio Narizzano’s much – loved 1966 Swinging London movie Georgy girl, who made stars of both Lynn Redgrave and Charlotte Rampling in their respective roles as dowdy introvert and wild-child sex kitten. Mumladze (who had a prominent supporting role in Otar’s death) and Khundadze (in their feature film debut) are in their way no less impressive than their famous English predecessors. Their ups and downs – including interludes of intimacy that the customs of the times forbade Redgrave and Rampling to approach – are tracked with genuine empathy, insight, humor and skill.
Not much happens in A separate room: the real drama has unfolded a few months before the start of the film’s action. The most stormy confrontation – when Tina shows up at the funeral of her estranged mother only to be aggressively rejected by a tough male relative – is presented at an eye-catching distance: shown in feature film through the window of a closed car door with the sound almost completely muted as a result .
The efficient but unreliable sound design (by Irakli Ivanishvili) and the cinematography (by Dimitri ‘Dito’ Dekanosidze) in this scene are representative of the picture as a whole: handheld camera work generally manages to find the right place to film each scene, including the many sequences that takes place inside the compact Tbilisi apartment that Megi and Tina call home. Working as his own editor, Bliadze continues the proceedings with a smooth cut and maintains engaging narrative drive in an image that becomes increasingly captivating and rewarding as it moves towards a circular finale.
Production company: Color of May
International sales: Color of May, [email protected]
Producers: Eva Blondiau, Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze, Elmar Imanov, Maisis Peri
Screenplay: Taki Mumladze, Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze
Cinematography: Dimitri Dekanosidze
Editing: Ioseb ‘Soso’ Bliadze
Starring: Taki Mumladze, Mariam Khundadze, Sophio Zeragia, Lashao Gabunia, Giorgi Tsereteli, Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze