Monday, October 26, 2009

DOCUMENTARY: Altzaney - Nino Orjonikidze, Vano Arsenishvili, Georgien, 2009, 31 min. (

International Competition Doc - DOK Festival 2009 (Leipzig)

DOK Leipzig, the largest German and second largest European documentary film festival will start its 52nd issue with an exciting programme and attractive offers in its individual sections. True to its tradition as the „Window to the World“ the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film again presents the best and latest animated and documentary films from more than 50 countries to its audience between October 26 and November 1, 2009.

Wednesday 28.10, CineStar 8, 11.00

Friday 30.10, CineStar 8, 20.00


Director Nino Orjonikidze
Co-Director Vano Arsenishvili
Production Nino Orjonikidze, Artefact Production
Cut Nino Orjonikidze, Vano Arsenishvili
Camera Nino Orjonikidze, Vano Arsenishvili
Language tschetschenisch, georgisch english as sub-title
31 min., Georgien, 2009, Color

Judging from the number of wrinkles, Altzaney is very old. Her narrow eyes shine with wisdom and goodness. Even while laboriously working on all kinds of chores, deeply bent or on her knees, she radiates a great inner dignity. She is an authority in the small Georgian village. People always call her if there is anything to sort out or any dispute to be settled. She often intercedes in marriage affairs, which the families delicately negotiate according to the old traditions. At first, everyone pretends that it is all about the welfare of the bride and whether the farms will be well matched, but in the end it is only the price that decides the outcome. In the Georgian directors' film, the camera often dwells on Altzaney’s face as she focuses on trying to find the right diplomatic approach to some negotiation, for hers is not a simple role. To all intents and purposes, the ancient patriarchal structures and a deep religious feeling reign supreme here. The director manages to capture a few passing comments which show that Altzaney herself knows best that she is not a saint. She is just needed. This makes for a touching portrait, but also an ethnographic look at the workings of a village community which follows rules that are not from our age. CK

In a foggy Pankisi Gorge, where traditions prevail over the law, people have favored authority. This is the 87 years old woman - Altzaney, who deals with lives and deaths of the local people. She is the one, who is authorized to interfere and resolve daily problems of the community, but also she is the only woman who is trusted to take care of the dead. People of the gorge believe that Altzanei is the one who can mediate between conflicting sides and between the two worlds as well. No man can challenge the authority of the woman chosen to guide them through lives and deaths.

1 comment:

Little Penguin said...

I saw it last night and was absolutely spellbound.. I'm not film-maker and so I have no authority when judging the camera work, but for what my opinion is worth, the film was fantastic.. The audience kept quiet throughout and were, myself included, in great awe of Altzaney.

And the producer was very modest and insightful as well.