50th Anniversary of Iosseliani’s Falling Leaves

On November 28, the Georgian National Museum Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia hosted the opening of the exhibition ‘A Week within Otar Iosseliani's World.’

The exhibition showcases 50 of Iosseliani's drawings from his private archives, never before exhibited to the public. Also on display is the storyboard of the film ‘Falling Leaves’ (Giorgobistve) hand-illustrated by the director himself. The exhibition is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the film.

“Today, no one else works as I do,” Iosseliani laments. “A storyboard of shots, a sketch of the camera movement – everything is significant. In order to avoid spending too much time thinking how and what to shoot, I prepare everything beforehand.”

The exhibition is organized by the International film festival ‘Kinovino.’

“By holding this exhibition, which coincides with the anniversary of ‘Falling Leaves,’ our film festival has demonstrated its respect towards Otar Iosseliani and to good cinema in general,” Nino Kacharava, Art-Director of International Film Festival Kinovino, told GEORGIA TODAY. “This is a miraculous journey into his world. And we will by all means pay tribute to other films as well in our festival ‘Kinovino,’ which is something of a retrospective.”

We spoke to Baadur Tsuladze, a director and actor who participated in the film Falling Leaves. He remembered the working process of the genius:

“Otar and I studied together. One day, he suggested I take part in this movie and I ageed. He was highly organized and was particularly quick with the working process. And he never stopped because he knew exactly what he was shooting. He had very strict discipline!”

“The beginning of 1960s was a period in the history of Georgian cinematography which saw a new era and generation of directors emerging who said no to that aggression that was so accepted and legalized during Soviet rule,” said Merab Kokochashvili, top Georgian film director and artist. “Considering this, Otar Iosseliani represents one of those Georgian film directors who found his own way to illustrate the whole Soviet system. His principle was to tell the whole truth, enriched with irony and sarcasm. This exhibition depicts his preparatory working process through sketches and it offers very interesting material for young people to learn from.”

Iosseliani graduated the Tbilisi State Conservatoire and went on to study mathematics, but eventually ended up as one of the most prominent film directors of the globe.

‘Giorgobistve’ was the first feature film of the Georgian-French film-maker.

The film is about wine making. There is no room for principles, however, young idealist Nico does not think so… He, together with his quite different friend Otar, begins working at the wine factory. There is a concrete schedule and the workers have to stick to it. However, Nico’s honest nature does not permit him to pour such low-quality wine in bottles in order to make the annual quota. He still mixes the gelatin with wine to make it better, even though he has been warned that it takes time and they are lagging behind. However, in spite of the Soviet pressure, Nico is loved by everyone in the factory. The film is structured in terms of different days of the week. Because of his disobedience, it is likely that Nico will be fired. Yet, the director of the factory instead fires everyone but he who did not betray his homeland – like Nico’s friend Otar did for the benefit of his own career inspirations. The excellent direction and acting (starring deceased Ramaz Giorgobiani as Nico and Gogi Kharabadze as Otar) made the film one of Iosseliani’s masterpieces of world cinema. In 1968, the picture won the George Sadoul Prize and in 1976, won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Otar Iosseliani, who is 82, shot his last movie ‘Winter Song’ in 2015, in which his indelible aesthetical strength is present, resembling music and poetry. It was screened during last year’s Tbilisi International Film Festival ‘Prometheus.’ Get online and check it out!

WHERE: Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, 3 Rustaveli Ave.

Maka Lomadze

01 December 2016 22:05