Thursday 20 October 2016
Zaza Urushadze | Estonia/Georgia, 2013 | 1hr 27 mins | Rated 15 | English subtitles
Set in 1992, during the growing conflict between Georgia and Abkhazian separatists
in the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, this modest and compassionate drama takes place in a rural village in Abkhazia, a separatist enclave in Georgia.
Ethnic Estonians Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak) and his long standing friend and neighbour Margus (Elmo Nüganen) are the only ones not to have fled after the outbreak of war. Margus has delayed leaving in the vain hope he’ll still be able to harvest his tangerines; Ivo, a carpenter making wooden crates for said tangerines, seems to have no intention of going anywhere despite apparently having family in Estonia.
The war inevitably comes to their doorstep with a shootout that leaves only two survivors – Chechen mercenary Ahmed and gravely injured Nika, a Georgian. Hoping to avoid any further trouble, Ivo and Margus bury the dead and hide their vehicles. Ivo takes in both wounded fighters without hesitation and nurses them with stoic magnanimity.
The combatants predictably vow to kill each other when they recover, but in the meantime
Ivo’s home is their demilitarized zone. Ivo keeps the peace with philosophic resolve
as the fighting draws ever closer and Margus frets over his unpicked tangerines. Could Ahmed and Nika’s forced cohabitation enable them to transcend ethnic divides? This intelligent and poetic film makes an eloquent statement for peace.