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TREE OF DESIRES

USSR, 1976 (MIFF 1978)

Director: T. Abuladze

This film is based on an autobiographical story by Georgi Leonidze, one of the founders of Soviet Georgian literature. Farmers and shepherds live in a nameless village on the banks of a river that dries up in summer.

The broad valley is overshadowed by cliffs and mountains; eagles hover in the sky. But despite the appearance of timelessness, Georgian society is changing.

The village is ruled by a self-appointed 'leader and teacher', Tsitsikore. At first he ignores the rebel loram, who calls for revolution and is said to be making bombs in his cowshed. But eventually he follows loram's example and he, too, lies down and presses his ear to the ground to listen to the tread of history.

Among the other villagers are Bumbala, an historian and philosopher, and Elois, a quiet dreamer, who hopes that his poverty will be ended by a magic stone, a goldfish, or a wishing tree. There is a vagrant fortune-teller, Fufala, the daughter of a ruined nobleman, who wanders from village to village, trying to convince people of some great happiness to come, and there are Marita and Gedia, whose love forms the central, tragic, relationship of the film.

Gold Prize, Terhan

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