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Graveyard of Dreams

Graveyard of Dreams" is a roughly made war pic that, with energy and immediacy, follows the misfortunes of a group of gung-ho Georgian civilians who take part in the war against the breakaway province of Abkhazia. For Western viewers, this is little more than an average war film, but the context of this particular war, and the fact that several members of the cast and crew were eventually killed in the conflict, give this gritty item a definite edge. Festivals will want a look, but should note that many of the English subtitles on the copy unspooled in Berlin are badly misspelled. Pic kicks off in Tbilisi as Georgi, a married man with two children, decides to join a group of civilians on an expedition to Sukhumi, a seaside resort in Abkhazia, to fight in the war of secession --- he takes along his hunting rifle. His fellow soldiers are a ragtag bunch, lacking uniforms, regular weapons or discipline. But they're fiercely patriotic and determined to put the Abkhazians in their place. Once they find themselves on the front line and in real danger, these Sunday soldiers undergo a fearful baptism by fire, and Georgi winds up trapped behind enemy lines with two comrades, one severely wounded.

With:
With: Bacho Bachukaschvili, Georgi Nakaschidze, Avtandil Schitrladze, Tamaz Berejiani, Lascha Esebua, Surab Gorgadze, Beka Urushadze.

The film’s strength is the apparent authenticity of the lengthy battle scenes, which climax with the landing of Georgian troops on a beach occupied by the enemy. Early scenes are rather awkwardly handled, but the second half of the overlong film packs a considerable punch. Thesping is naturalistic, though characterization is thin.

On a technical level, the film is borderline primitive, but this works in favor of the in-your-face depiction of down-and-dirty fighting in a nasty war.

Graveyard of Dreams

Georgian

Production: A TMS Invest/Georgia Film/Coca Bottlers (Georgia) production. Produced, directed by Georgi Chaindrava. Screenplay, Chaindrava, Irakli Solomonaschvili.

Crew: Camera (B&W), Chaindrava, Mikhail Magalaschvili; editors, Chaindrava, Leila Muchigulaschvili; music, Naizi Diasamidze; production design, Zaza Tsitsischvili; sound, Gary Kunzev. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 19, 1997. Running time: 115 MIN.

With: With: Bacho Bachukaschvili, Georgi Nakaschidze, Avtandil Schitrladze, Tamaz Berejiani, Lascha Esebua, Surab Gorgadze, Beka Urushadze.

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