Every year, Tbilisi has a film festival, the Tbilisi International Film Festival (TIFF). It takes place in Tbilisi's two main theatres, the Rustaveli and the Amirani. Last year, I went to several movies, most notably, "The English Teacher", where I left quite disappointed that the English teaching volunteer out in Samagrelo didn't turn out to be a CIA agent who then crossed the border to Abkhazia, kicked some Russian ass, picked up some babes and smoked some Gali weed. Well, not all stories can come from Hollywood, I guess.
And this one I saw tonight, "Kertu," or "Love Is Blind", was one of those. My first thoughts describing it are quite simple. It was beautiful. And as most things beautiful, it was also tragic - one might say it is only that which is tragic that has the capacity to be beautiful.
The title is wanting, and the writer/director, Ilmar Raag of Estonia, who was
there at the showing, admitted that he wasn't quite interested in the
title. "It wasn't my idea," he said. "But part of the
title was for marketing. If we were showing the movie in Germany,
people would ask, 'What the hell is a kertu?' But in a sense, the
title fits, since Villu is a drunk guy, who's the town womanize and
without a job and now purpose in life and she falls in love with him.
While we were writing the script, we kept on asking why she was in
|Ilmar Raag on the right|
"Kertu" is the story of a "simple" village girl who falls in love with the village drunk. Her father is abusive and her mother and sister for the most part are enablers, either too scared or too much in love with the father to really support their idiot kin. But the alcoholic womanizer isn't such a bad guy, and he lets his feelings get a hold of him as he confronts life's mortality - he's got cancer and maybe a year to live if he keeps living as he does.
It's a beautiful film. Quiet and introspective. It explores the nature of the mad and the abused, and how sometimes the mad aren't so mad, but it's the people around them that have created their crumbling psyche. Love can be a destructive and terrifying thing.