Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 12-13 (Jan-June 1987) p. 39.

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Those Who Left the Festivities

Georgian Cinema Today

K Demin

IN 1985 the film director Eldar Shengelaya was amongst the recipients of the State Awards of the USSR. He received the award for his film Blue Mountains or an Incredible Story. The film is powerful, brilliant, daring and enjoyable and was greatly appreciated by the audience. Simultaneously, judging from the enthusiastic response of the press, the film sums up a long and persistent search of Georgian cinema. What is even more important is that it opens up new vistas of artistic thought and creativity.

There is nothing out of the ordinary about the plot. It deals with the humdrum existence of the editorial staff of a literary journal in Tbiisi, the capital of Soviet Georgia. The editor is an exceptionally busy man, rushing around and giving^orders on the run. Then there is the languid secretary, who does not talk to anyone; employees with business-like, impenetrable physiognomies, who contrive to do precisely nothing; and a young fellow—a budding author. He brings a story titled The Blue Mountains or Tien Shan. What would be simpler than to read through it in a few minutes, praise or censure it and say whether or not it will be published? But that is precisely what does not happen. The story is passed from hand to hand, profound statements are made without so much as a glance at the manuscript, words of meaningless advice are freely offered and finally the manuscript is lost. It is missing and that's that. Nobody knows what exactly to look for, let alone where, or whom to ask. Was it one story with two titles or, as some would believe, two different stories?

The events in the story ostensibly intended to expose idlers and parasites, are not reduced to loud pamphleteering on the screen. On the contrary, they unfold as a series of remarkably authentic genre sketches, in soft tones, lyrical and reminiscent of water colours, but in essence, no less venomous.

Journal of Arts & Ideas 39

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