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CINEMA

USSR, 1979 (MIFF 1980, Programme 24)

Director: Liana Eliava

Sosiko's parents had sent their son to study in Paris. He comes home with the camera of the Lumiere brothers. The young man wanders through the streets of Tiflis photographing ever so many scenes: the flight of a balloon, a stage performance in the Metechskij Fortress and his beloved and delightful Nutsjiko who rides a bicycle. Shocked by his nephew's behaviour. Prince Goga Colokasvili drives Sisiko from home. Friends and relatives are very sceptical about Sisiko's activities and even Nutsjiko leaves him. Sosiko convinces Amberg, who owns a studio in which a magic lantern operates, to lend him his stereoscope. So finally on the rudimental screen Sosiko's images are seen in movement...

This charming little film uses an almost immobile camera technique and a luminous, excellent imitation of early black and white photography. The gangling, sad-faced young hero (somewhat reminiscent of Buster Keaton) and an assorted group of comic Georgian types, play in slightly stylised manner; most of the scenes are underplayed and its points are made without emphasis. A film which celebrates early cinematography and the creators who believed in film as art.

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