|8:15 p.m.||Blind Dates|
Levan Koguashvili (Georgia, 2013)
Stuck living at home with his parents and still single at forty, schlubby Sandro (Andro Sakhvarelidze) has zero prospects when it comes to finding true love. Set-ups with women visiting from the Georgian provinces and nights out with his ever-optimistic best friend (Archil Kikodze) only make the situation seem that much more hopeless. Fate lends a hand when this history teacher runs into a former student’s mom, Manana (Ia Sukhitashvili). Their chemistry is immediate, but there’s a catch: Manana’s husband, a man with a history of violence, is getting out of prison the next day. And when Sandro inadvertently ends up chauffeuring her slippery spouse around, things quickly go from bad to worse. The winner of a special jury prize at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Levan Koguashvili’s romantic tragicomedy throws any number of obstacles at its smitten hero: pregnant refugees, interfamilial feuds, DOA dates, violent gangsters, and one con man of an ex-con. But thanks to an amazing performance by Sakhvarelidze, one never doubts that kindly Sandro will do the right thing regardless of what his heart wants. And like the filmmaker’s previous feature Street Days (2010), this tongue-in-cheek look at amorous interruptus balances sociopolitical commentary with a beautiful sense of bruised humanism. For those who’ve been wondering if the burgeoning Georgian New Wave would have a breakout star, look no further; for those new to the scene, this gem is quite the eye-opener.
• Written by Boris Frumin. Photographed by Tato Kotetishvili. With Andro Sakhvarelidze, Ia Sukhitashvili, Archil Kikodze. (95 mins)
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