MUBI is showing Salomé Jashi's The Dazzling Light of Sunset (2016) as part of a collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center for their Art of the Real festival. The film is playing April 29 - May 29 in the United States and May 6 - June 5, 2017 in most countries around the world.
Manufacturing information has been my subject of interest especially since TV news reporting was one of my first jobs.
Then, some years ago, I came across a local newspaper is a small town in England where the front-page story read that Mr. and Mrs. Smiths had closed their pub in the downtown. It struck me what was considered news for a small community while much bigger events were going on around the world.
I started to research local television stations around my home country Georgia and discovered some fascinating settings, characters and happenings. Of course, the news these TV stations were making was very local, but they also reflected the bigger issue of representation in general.
As I went on filming in one of these stations in Tsalenjikha, a small town in the Western part of Georgia, the ‘news’ of the town brought forward a mixture of topics—politics, religion, women, children… But the concept of beauty, representation of one’s self in the best manner possible, was the most striking aspect I observed. It was a very peculiar understanding of beauty. Most of the things I went on to film—either news stories or important happenings in the town—were set on a stage where one must appear beautiful. Thus the “stage” became one of the main layers in the film.
Dariko, the local journalist, is the driving force in the film. She is like a thread, a guide, linking one story to another, creating a mosaic of random events but at the same time also forming a portrait of a conservative society influenced by the modern world. This hybrid, merging traditional values with globalization, became yet another layer in the film.
All in all, the film is a kind of chaos, a puzzle, which the audience has to put together as they watch it. And then, towards the end, why not question the authenticity of all you’ve seen?
Finally, I should say that this film would not have been possible without the collaboration with the protagonists and an extremely supportive production crew. It was an intense journey we went through together.