Giorgi Shengelaia (USSR, 1969)
Pirosmani is a poetic biography of the great Georgian primitive artist Nikoloz (Niko) Pirosmanishvili, who worked prior to 1920. Giorgi Shengelaia avoids the usual clichés of films about artists’ lives, successfully experimenting with color control techniques based on the painter’s style. Avtandil Varazi plays the gentle, uncompromising artist who sold his paintings to bars and restaurants for food and drink, and worked mostly in solitude. After its American premiere at PFA in 1974, this delicately expressive film won the Grand Prize at the Chicago Film Festival and went on to international critical acclaim.
• Written by Shengelaia, Erlom Akhvlediani. Photographed by Konstantin Apryatin. With Avtandil Varazi, Dodo Abashidze, Givi Aleqsandria, Spartak Bagashvili. (85 mins, In Georgian with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, BAM/PFA Collection)