About an hour into Alexandre Koberidze’s Georgian movie What Do We See When We Take a look at the Sky?, I lastly realised the importance of the title. The scene follows a bunch of youngsters taking part in soccer, however in slow-motion, minimize to the Giorgio Moroder-composed Notti Magiche, the official tune for the 1990 soccer world cup.
This scene is a momentary rupture within the film’s arthouse stillness. Up till then, I had been seeing a quiet, mild movie, quirked up by a magic-realist premise that’s quickly left hanging like a thought bubble whereas the movie turns into a lyrical doc of Kutaisi, certainly one of Georgia’s oldest and most populated cities.
The Mubi launch begins with Lisa and Giorgi working into one another one morning. After they meet once more within the night, they make a plan to go on a date the subsequent night time. However Lisa is quickly warned by a seedling, a surveillance digicam, and a rain gutter that an ‘evil eye’ has cursed her. When Lisa wakes up the subsequent day, she’s going to discover her look modified.
Lisa shortly leaves the place, earlier than the wind can cross on extra essential info: Giorgi’s look might be modified as nicely, so the 2 potential lovers will perpetually be tormented, unable to recognise one another.
The curse seems to be actual. Lisa (Ani Karseladze and Oliko Barbakadze) and Giorgi (Giorgi Ambroladze and Giorgi Bochorishvili) not solely lose their faces, but in addition their skills. Soccer fan Giorgi can now not kick the ball proper. Medical pupil Lisa has forgotten her classes. Hoping to fulfill one another by some means, Lisa takes up a job on the cafe the place she was supposed to fulfill Giorgi. Alternatively, Giorgi begins working for a roadside gig the place passers-by are provided a money prize, if they will dangle from a steel bar for 2 minutes. Later, I YouTubed and located that it’s an precise factor in Europe.
If this creates an impression that What Do We See When We Take a look at the Sky? is a twee, eccentric fantasy like Amelie, that’s not the case. Lisa and Giorgi’s observe slowly turns into half of a bigger complete. Koberidze turns his consideration in direction of the setting: Kutaisi, its inhabitants, animals, tradition, historical past, and public areas. Holding the intentionally paced and meticulously framed movie is Koberidze’s emotionless voiceover.
Whereas I couldn’t cease watching, I obtained impatient questioning the place is that this movie going. I lastly discovered a solution within the scene I discussed initially.
After we have a look at the sky, we’re blinded by the solar, the infinite, the universe itself, and we really feel miniscule, a part of a typical humanity. The universality of that have, and the necessity to see the world anew with a curious and type gaze is what Koberidze is speaking together with his film.
For instance, Faraz Fesharaki’s digicam looms over the town’s many soccer followers, sometimes framing somebody’s head, ft or face in a close-up, or typically shifting away and observing the neighborhood as an entire, as they watch a match collectively. Koberidze’s voiceover offers the historical past of the town and its folks. When the digicam is turned in direction of the town’s canines, Koberidze’s narration provides them names, personalities, tales. In that football-playing scene within the centre of the film, Koberidze’s intention turns into clear. He’s asking us to concentrate to the folks and the world round us.
I turned assured with my interpretation within the second half of the film. The movie is split into two elements. The primary half begins with a quote from Giorgian writer Rezo Cheishvili’s work: “‘These morons have by no means seen a raven,’ Guia A thought, ‘However you could not discover something on his face.’”
The second half, which begins after that football-playing scene, begins with one other quote: “As soon as I noticed in the marketplace of Kutaisi gioconda, she was promoting herbs” from A Story Forgotten by All by Levan Chelidze.
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Each quotes are about seeing. The primary is about rebuking morons who overlook what ought to carry marvel. The second is about quietly observing one thing commonplace. In a method, Koberidze just isn’t solely alerting us in regards to the film’s themes, however he’s additionally telling us the right way to watch the film.
Koberidze expands a bit extra on the themes in his voiceover within the second half. He speaks obliquely in regards to the brutality of the world, and the way folks, resembling these in his film, or the viewers, are oblivious to or unbothered about it. In that scenario, what distinction does his cinema make? He says whereas there could also be dangerous issues taking place on this planet, attention-grabbing issues like a person and a lady shedding their faces, or a bunch of canines bonding over soccer, are taking place throughout us. He doesn’t know what such issues imply, however he is aware of you will need to see and acknowledge them. What else is life and cinema about?
Film: What Do We See When We Take a look at the Sky?
Forged: Ani Karseladze, Giorgi Bochorishvili, Oliko Barbakadze, Giorgi Ambroladze
Director: Alexandre Koberidze