Skip to main content


USSR, 1971 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Georgy Shengelaya

Niko Pirosmani was a great Georgian artist, although his works are not widely known outside the Soviet Union. He painted before 1920, refusing to compromise, living a bare existence. He accepted meagre pay, often only food and drink, for works to be hung in bars and restaurants. His life was solitary, and he could not establish contact with the woman he fell in love with, a singer whom he often painted.

Shengelaya shows us Pirosmani going about his daily chores, even painting signs over a shop front. He recalls his childhood, amongst grassy hills and flocks of sheep.

Pirosmani kept a store for a living, but put an end to this livelihood by irritating a wealthy customer and giving r^way his food to the poor. His simplicity is emphasized in scenes where he buys armfuls of grass to lie upon and recollect his life in the country.

Shengelaya has used throughout the film a visual style based on Pirosmani's techniques. The photography reflects his compositions and colours; shot in muted tones, mainly ochres, browns and luminous golds, occasionally highlighted with red.

'The great virtue of Shengelaya's film is to capture a painterly quality, not only in its discreet and controlled use of soft colour, but also in the composition of shots. . .'

Gordon Gow, Films and Filming

See also...


Four former World War II veterans meet after 25 years, at the funeral of a fifth friend. Radio operator Dubinsky is now a bookkeeper; demolition man Kiryushin is a journalist; the former commander of ... More »

Family of Petrukhin

The kind and shy Petrukhin and his recently acquired, rather strict wife, have their first children: and they are twins. The whole village celebrates the day and to pay for the celebration. Petrukhin ... More »


Filmgoers whose knowledge of the classic Soviet cinema is limited to the confirmed greats such as Eisenstein, Podovkin and Dovzhenko owe it to themselves to get acquainted with the comedies of Boris ... More »


A young man is madly in love with a girl. He daydreams of marrying her, but alas, she marries another. ... Grand Prix, Youth Section, Cannes Festival. ... More »

How the Cossacks Played Soccer

A fairy-tale about the daring soccer-team of Dnieper Cossacks who travelled abroad and won all the games with knights, musketeers and islanders, showing wonders of resourcefulness and wit. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director