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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Trip to Karabakh: Stuck in Reverse

Last Month, I saw a film “Trip to Karabakh: the Last Return”. It is the last (thank you, god!) part of a trilogy of the Karabakh films. The first one, based on a good book by Aka Morchiladze, was fine. It reflected the mood of the 90’s. The second one was rumored to be crap, never saw it, and the third one was supposed to be funny. And it was, but for all the wrong reasons. I was told that it describers inadequacy of a “dzveli bichi”, who has spent last 15 years in prison and consequently is out of touch with modern new and refined Georgia.. I thought it would be funny how he would try to use his old street skills and get puzzled responses, his ignorance ofhow facebook, cell phones, his amazement at our wonderful life with good roads, running water, constant electricity and the joy and merriment of democratic Georgia. Instead, I go this: The guy comes out of the prison (product placement in his hand) and gets into altercation with the police. Not aware that disrespecting police is unhealthy now, he swears at the officers. Back to prison for a year. Out again(product placement). Painstakingly long shots of him discovering his house in dust (views of renovated old Tbilisi). Boring shots of him visiting parents’ grave. Boring shots of him visiting his dead friend’s girl and showing her the cross he is supposed to give to her son—cause he wants to be his godfather. The mother (sex worker in the 1st film) is a translator now. She is totally psyched to see that an ex-convict, who was involved in drugs and guns and all that shit of the 90s is here for her son. She even underlines how her son needs a father figure. Several product placements along the road. Prison guy visits dead friend’s son who—oh the new mysterious time-- studies in a school where smoking is now prohibited. Dead friend’s son is in a principle’s room cause he broke something, the guy tries to rescue his godson-to-be, promises to repair what is broken, only to find that this godson-to-be broke into a computer program and now principal is happy that the boy has illegally helped school get the program that otherwise would cost more than the school’s budget (!). It is a joke on breaking, get it? No? The prison guy thought that the boy has actually broken something and could not get all the computer talk! got it?! A joke! Oh, all this time, the student and principal are staring into a comp display that has on it. This hacker is a genius! He figured out how to access a free online Georgian-English dictionary. Shots of some other product placement for no reason. Prison guy visits old friend, who is still in the drug- dealing business. Together, they visit the dead friend’s grave. Also, godfather-to –be brings the dead friends’ son to his drug dealer friend. Where the hell is the boy’s mother and why is she OK that her son hangs out with ex-convict and a drug dealer?! BUT , they are friends of her son’s dead father, so it totally makes sense that they took the boys upbringing into their manly hands. Drug dealer leaves to Karabakh to deal some more drugs and gives our protagonist bunch of money. Cause this is what friends do. Prison guy uses them to make some more money in a –product placement—bookmaker. Then he watches TV with his godson-to-be (this two hang out together all the time now), where he is tricked into believing that two goals took place instead of one, via the miracle of rewinding TV (product placement). At the same time, there is a parallel plotline of the godson loving the girl who loves him back, but is a daughter of politician/dead friend’s killer. Prospective godfather and politician oppose the love story. Also, non-English speaking, crappy-looking, acting-like-it-is-still-nineties dude (our prison guy) hooks up with a TLG teacher and after seeing him twice, she of course gets drunk and they have sex (implied). The only funny moment of the film when misguided by the directions that Radisson is nice glass building, the prison guys tries to pay for the hotel room in a newly-built police station. Get it, police stations are glassy and shiny and new-looking!!! Horny teenagers elope with the help of the prison guy, who sends them—you will never guess—to Karabakh, to his drug-dealing friend, because that is such a safe place to go for the newlyweds!!! Next morning, the killer politician forces prison guy to drive toward Karabakh, in order to get his daughter back (I mean wouldn’t you be mad if your daughter ran off with the son of a guy you killed and was helped by his ex-convict friend to escape to a war zone to the drug dealer friend?!). In a climactic moment, prison guy, who is driving with killer politician pointing gun at him, steers the car into abyss, thus sacrificing himself in the name of love of the horny teenagers. The film ends with said teenagers looking at the graves of never-to-be-godfather guy and killer politician/father-of-the-bride, who are buried side by side (!) and then walk away, hugging. Thus, love has conquered all, enemies are friends (dead though). This film felt so 1. Boring 2. Dated 3. Boring 4. Ridiculous 5. Offensive that I got surprised, I thought we were over this kind of bullshit. here we are claiming that prisoners, thieves and drug dealers are no longer protagonists in our country, only to betaken 20 years back by this characters. oh, and the gender relations. Just precious. Let the drug dealers raise my kid, as long as he are male. and, don’t we all know that American teachers come here to fuck Georgian men? Talk about going back in time…

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