8th Tbilisi International Film Festival
Georgia, December 3 - December 9 2007
The Tbilisi International Film Festival, now in its eight year, managed once again to present against all the odds a rich and varied program of more than a hundred films and several sidebars for an enthusiastic local audience normally deprived of exposure to this kind of arthouse and world cinema, since the twenty remaining cinemas in the whole country show mostly the usual Hollywood and Russian fare.
Highlights of the competition section, focusing this year for the first time on eleven first and second films, included the magnificent, heartbreaking polish debut film Tricks, which received both the Golden Prometheus Best Film Prize (a cash award of 7,000 US Dollars), and the Parajanov Award; Aleksei Popogrebsky’s film Simple Things got the Silver Prometheus for Best Director; whereas our FIPRESCI award went to My Father My Lord from Israel, directed by David Volach — an amazing and powerful first film, set in a Jewish ultra-orthodox family and questioning the boundaries of religious beliefs.
Alongside the competition section, a wide-ranging Forum of European Cinema, a small Horizon section with recent Asian films, an important showcase of German Films and French shorts, the festival presented Transcaucasian Documents and a Georgian Panorama, featuring this year essentially short documentaries, a documentary feature and animations, but only one single feature length fiction film.
This section reflected the current state of the local film production where young filmmakers still seem to struggle to find their own language. Unfortunately, some directors didn’t even bother to give their films English subtitles. In order to encourage the development of Georgian film production, the festival organized, for Georgian film producers and directors, under the aegis of the National Film Center, several workshops and seminars with representatives of the World Film Fund, the Hubert Bals Fund and distribution and co-production experts.
Last but not least, the star of the festival was undoubtedly the famous American director Bob Rafelson, whose masterclass and a talk about his legendary 1970 classic Five Easy Pieces attracted a mostly young audience, with the cinema packed to the gills. (Barbara Lorey)