Tbilisi, 2010. A contest to elect the “mother of Georgia”. The winner will receive an apartment and 25,000 dollars. Ten women, seven of them from the most impoverished sectors of society, will go head to head in a desperate attempt to win.
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Kinda looks like a Georgian variation on Michael Ritchie's lowkey 1975 masterpiece SMILE, doesn't it? (It is.) Pussy Riot lite. KEEP SMILING turns out to be a uniquely revealing cultural document. But not terribly strong cinema. The fact that it is burdened w/ a look that rarely works for it seems symptomatic of a general lack of concern w/ aesthetics and technique. Still, that's an unbelievably great final shot.
Amazing performances; I believed every moment of desperation and hope in this story of women struggling to win through in a system contrived by corrupt, repulsive men taking full advantage of a terrible situation.
The set-up could have uncovered and done so much more- instead it felt like the Rusudan Chkonia didn’t quite know how to approach this fantastic premise and really use its potential. It became quite messy, predictable and went for shock more than anything.
De cet acerbe tableau d'un événement médiatique finalement banal et futile, se dégage une radioscopie, certes hyperbolique, voire caricaturale de la société géorgienne et de ses dérives libérales tentant d'occulter vaille que vaille la pauvreté et la corruption endémiques. www.cinefiches.com