The day after the funeral of Varlam Aravidze, the authoritarian mayor of a small Georgian town, his corpse turns up again in his son’s garden but is secretly reburied. However, the corpse keeps returning, and the police eventually arrests a local woman, who is accused of digging it up.
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This epic and bizarre film plays like history as a weird dream but it is a fairly accurate representation of Georgian society: very strange and highly evolved in a way that is different from any other nation on earth. Even the Georgian language has no relatives or ancestors-completely unique among all the languages of the world. And it isn't clear whether Georgia is in Europe or Asia; It's somewhere else instead.
“Repentance” starts like a comedy but grows up to be a great tragedy and a damn amazing film. It depicts life under dictatorial powers, coping with its arbitrariness, search for justice, repentance over generations. At times surreals, sometimes reminiscent of Tarkovski, constantly impressive and filled with outstanding performances. The dictator singing opera to the soon-to-be imprisoned artist was truly disturbing.
Multiple award winner at Cannes '87 after having been banned at home. Abuladze casts an eye on three generations of a family by examining the history of a grandfather recently past and his tyrannical background as a local politician. The filmmaker's weapons are satire, black comedy, political farce and surrealism; and he wields them fiercely. Scripting is fascinating as is the vile lead turn by Avtandil Makharadze.
A nation and the pain of repentance. I am very much in awe by the artistic elements, but the philosophy behind it seems a little lacking. Nonetheless, this may have been the balm Georgia needed to soothe its fragile conscious concerning Stalin and his legacy.
An odd black comedy, a sort of deadpan burlesque, that starts off like an unexplained inside joke and never, over its 2.5 hours, quite ends up making up for it. When context, after 30 minutes, comes, it pools - immiscible - on the too-well-formed set-up, creating layers - of surrealism, politics, scathing humour, sadness; a film in stiff strata. 11 years later, Kusturica would combine the same elements more artfully.