Since Otar Left
Autumn 2004 Main series
Sunday, November 7, 2004 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 7, 2004 at 7:00pm
Monday, November 8, 2004 at 7:00pm
Rated NR ·
Belgium / France
Since Otar Left, a brilliantly acted family drama, has been dazzling film festival audiences worldwide and won, among various awards, the prestigious Critics’ Week Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Set in Georgia, this epic, bittersweet saga follows the lives of three generations of women: feisty, ninety-year-old Elka (Esther Gorintin, a former dental assistant who has only begun acting in the past few years); her self-pitying, morose daughter Marina (Nino Khomassouridze); and young, defiant granddaughter Ada (award-winning actress Dinara Droukarova).
The stage is set for conflict right from the beginning; the three headstrong women all live together in a stately yet past-its-prime apartment in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Matriarch Elka misses the one who got away – her son Otar was a doctor in Georgia but has moved to Paristo work as a construction worker. Marina, who cares for her elderly mother, deeply resents Elka’s near-obsession with Otar and is overtly hostile toward her mother. Ada, meanwhile, has grown tired of listening to her mother and grandmother’s fighting, and longs to be anywhere other than where she is currently stuck. Once these family dynamics are established, the film takes a dramatic turn when one of Otar’s friends calls with tragic news. Ada and her mother must now bind together to make a very tough decision: should they protect Elka by keeping her in the dark?
Since Otar Left is a first foray into fiction for accomplished documentary filmmaker Bertucelli. She brings her keen eye for detail to this film, along with an artistic sensibility culled from years working as assistant director to a number of master filmmakers, including Otar Iosseliani, Krzysztof Kieslowski and Rithy Panh. Most memorable are the three outstanding lead actresses, who dramatize the many layers comprising familial bonds – deception, love, fragility – to perfection.