“Repentance”: Transformation and Publicity

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Giorgi Ghvaladze


Diff erent historical forms of trivial relationships were established at diff erent stages of public development that have both ethnical and social grounds. And along with time shift, these forms also changed and developed.

Tragic years of our history touched everybody. One can find lots of open wounds here. Through torments, tortures and bloodshed over hundreds of years, the ethnos or ethnical groups collected the best and eternal values, dignity and kindness
characteristic to nations in misfortune. Thought provoking is the fact that the biggest sacrifi ce is made by the best part of nation. After this all a question is born: have our roots been cut, or the
best tradition transmitted from grandparents to grandchildren, one generation to another been ceased? As a reply to these questions, Georgian fi lm director Tengiz Abuladze made the movie “Repentance”.

The word repentance means feeling of regret and
acknowledgement of sin and crime by praying or poetry. It is a Christian term and, in its essence, excludes action using a force. Repentance is a spiritual category versus physical. If catharsis
does not take place, repentance will not happen. In addition to many other factors, the changes taking place from the mid-80s known to the soviet public as “perestroika” (transformation) and publicity also can be explained by screening the “Repentance”. One could even hear many saying openly that the 27th session of the communist party in 1986 began with Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev’s speech and Abuladze’s movie.

Working on the movie began when still formally alive
though “already deemed as dead” Brezhnev ruled the country. Ill and weakened Andropov and Chernenko also followed him. Vice-President of the United States George Bush Senior had to annually arrive in Moscow to condole with the management of the country. Based on all this, the production outran the reality
that later by epochal meaning became even with time and accordingly with contemporary life. The sharply expressed civic position of the fi lm director and the movie itself is even more appreciative based on these facts. The authors were not afraid and declared their message openly when it was the hardest to do. But they could not avoid the destiny and for two years the movie was left on the shelf. There is some symbolism in this. The movie as though took upon itself the „crime“and completed the sentence honestly. Thus, it protected the creative team and saved them from responsibility. Gorbachev and the vital judgement declared by him laid basis for densely rolled tapes that were put in metal boxes and in their own way represented a tin coffin to be public again.

Tengiz Abuladze remained devoted to his poetic and cinematographic judgement, at the same time always preserving uniqueness. Under contemporaneity and objective reality, he managed to find poetic and ascending poetic originals and expressed the epoch through them.

Abuladze Film Director Film Plot Repentance
Published: Dec 20, 2021

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Film Studies