Sunday, June 10, 2007

Money hates good films.

Television in Europe is as bad as in the USA.
One can watch programs on different channels during one evening and go to sleep realizing to have wasted life in the worst way imaginable.
The reasons television has become a way of communication of little interest to a sane person is that it has commercialized.
The primary purpose is to make money and this determines what is being presented.

However, in Europe in most countries are channels financed by the Government and free of commercials.
It is on those channels that often interesting programs, documentaries and films can be seen not interrupted by commercials.
One of these channels is called “Canvas” and is from Belgium.

Because in Europe most houses in cities are connected to cable television, national channels can be seen internationally.
Being in Amsterdam, Holland, one can see “Canvas” from Belgium.

Last night a film was shown called “Depuis qu’Otar est parti”.
Made in 2003 by Julie Bertucelli (1968).

Julie Bertucelli

This film tells the story of three women in an apartment in Tblisi, the capital of the former Soviet Republic Georgia.
Grandmother Eka, daughter Marina widowed because her husband died as a soldier in the war in Afghanistan, and granddaughter Ada, a talented student.
Grandmother Eka has also a son called Otar who managed to go to work in Paris and who is sending letters with money to his beloved mother.
Then one day the phone rings and daughter Marina answers.
It is someone calling from Paris telling that her brother Otar has had an accident and is dead.
She confides this to her daughter Ada and they decide to keep it a secret for the grandmother Eka.
She has a heart condition and they are afraid the news would be a shock too big for her.
For months the two women fool the old grandmother.
They write letters pretending they are from the son.
But eventually the grandmother gets suspicious and decides to travel to Paris with her daughter and granddaughter.
To look for her son and see what is going on.
This is what happens: the three women travel to Paris.
While the daughter Marina and granddaughter Ada find the grave of Otar the grandmother escapes from the hotel room and start looking by herself.
She goes to the address she has of her son Otar and learns he is death.
The grandmother realises she has been fooled by her daughter and granddaughter but understands they did this for her very best.
She decides to avoid a conflict and when they all meet again she simply explains that she has learned that her son has immigrated to the USA.
They all understand that this is the way out to return to Tblisi in Georgia.
They do but at the airport the granddaughter Ada decides to stay behind to try to make a career in France where she has more options than in Georgia.

It sounds like a simple story and actually it is.
But it is filmed in a most intimate way with very convincing performances of the three actresses: Esther Gorintin as grandmother Eka, Nino Khomasuridze as daughter Marina and Dinara Drukarova as granddaughter Ada.
Seeing the film is like being with them and undergoing the same experiences as they have.

A film like this is an international co-production with French and Belgium money from non-commercial institutions.
It never made the movie theatres, except selected art-houses.
But this film won many prices on film festivals, notably the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique au Festival de Cannes 2003, the César de la meilleure première œuvre de fiction 2004, the Prix Marguerite Duras 2003, the Grand Prix du Meilleur Scénariste 2001 and the Prix du Meilleur Premier Film du Syndicat de la Critique 2003…
It is being shown on non-commercial TV stations in Europe and available on DVD.

It is a film that is wonderful to see leaving the spectator with strong impressions and a warm, human feeling.
But these kinds of films are limited in their distribution.
Where money rules, there is no place for it.


To learn more about Julie Bertucelli, click on:

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