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Discovering Georgian Cinema

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Discovering Georgian Cinema

Saturday, January 24, 2015
8:15 p.m. Once Upon a Time There Was a Singing Blackbird
Otar Iosseliani USSR, 1971

(Iqo shashvi mgalobeli/Zhil Pyevchi Drozd, aka A Song Thrush There Was). Otar Iosseliani, who visited BAM/PFA in May 1991 during the San Francisco International Film Festival to introduce And There Was Light, had much to say about the nature of narrative in his films, which fool us with the spontaneity of "real life" but are complex fictions nonetheless. We are fortunate to have in our collection several of Iosseliani's Georgian works, in which he displays a marvelous feel for the look and character of his native community. Once Upon a Time There Was a Singing Blackbird is a wry comedy, set in Tbilisi, about a young musician who is perpetually in a hurry and late for every appointment because his life is so full of chance encounters. He cannot walk down the street without stopping to chat with a dozen friends. Every resolve to reform goes astray. On the night of the big concert he arrives in the orchestra pit just in time to play his drum roll—and then rushes off for another drink.

• Written by Iosseliani, Dimitri Eristavi. Photographed by Abesalom Maisuradze. With Gela Kandelaki, Gogi Chkheidze, Jansug Kakhidze, Irine Jandieri. (80 mins, In Georgian with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, BAM/PFA Collection)