This rich tapestry of a film had a golden thread running through it of one woman’s life. It was so absorbing and finely-crafted that I forgot I was watching a film.
Three generations of one Georgian family live in an apartment. Stalwart Manana (Ia Shugliashvili), her overbearing mother Lamara (Berta Khapava) and invalid father Otar (Goven Cheishvili), her husband Soso (Merab Ninidze), son Lashka and daughter Nino (Tsisia Qumsishvili) with her husband. There is chaotic noise, no privacy and Lamara’s constant carping. Amidst the maelstrom, Manana announces her intention to move out into an apartment of her own.
Manana never explains the reason for her decision, even amidst the expostulations of her family. They surge and crash around her resolute path and, with each intervention, we see more clearly who she is and what Georgian society expects of women. There are some sublime moments, the music that often erupt spontaneously is rich and resonant and Manana’s moments of quiet repose perfectly contrast the tumult of her family.
There are unexpected twists and turns that are handled elegantly and with understatement. Manana’s story is a universal one, for women at least; the need to find space within the expectations of family and a society that gives you limited autonomy, a “room of one’s own” as Virginia Woolf said.
Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.