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Repentance (1984)
"Monanieba" (original title)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  March 1987 (Soviet Union)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 2,513 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 6 critic

The day after the funeral of Varlam Aravidze, the mayor of a small Georgian town, his corpse turns up in his son's garden and is secretly reburied. But the corpse keeps returning, and the ... See full summary »


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Title: Repentance (1984)

Repentance (1984) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 11 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Varlam Aravidze / Abel Aravidze
Ia Ninidze ...
Guliko (as Iya Ninidze)
Zeinab Botsvadze ...
Ketevan Barateli
Ketevan Abuladze ...
Nino Barateli
Edisher Giorgobiani ...
Sandro Barateli
Kakhi Kavsadze ...
Mikheil Koresheli
Nino Zakariadze ...
Elene Korisheli (as Nino Zaqariadze)
Nano Ochigava ...
Ketevan as a child
Boris Tsipuria
Akaki Khidasheli
Leo Antadze ...
(as Levan Antadze)
Rezo Esadze
Mzia Makhviladze ...
(as M. Makhazadze)
Amiran Amiranashvili


The day after the funeral of Varlam Aravidze, the mayor of a small Georgian town, his corpse turns up in his son's garden and is secretly reburied. But the corpse keeps returning, and the police eventually capture a local woman, who is accused of digging it up. She says that Varlam should never be laid to rest because he was responsible for a Stalin-like reign of terror that led to the disappearance of many of her friends... Written by Michael Brooke <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

March 1987 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

Repentance  »

Box Office


$215,496 (USA)

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Did You Know?


Movie was ready for release in 1984, but it was banned until 1987 (premiere in Cannes). See more »


After Varlam's corpse has been reburied the second time, an iron cage is placed over his grave to protect it from further intrusion. But as the perpetrator starts to exhume him for the third time, there is no cage. See more »


Abel Aravidze as an adult: Of course, the court will pass some sentence. But what am I to do? Keep burying my father every day?
See more »


Ode to Joy
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

Landmark film, but not without flaws
16 April 2014 | by (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – See all my reviews

When in Soviet Georgia a woman named Keto is arrested for digging up the remains of Valam, the long time mayor of a small town, she defends herself recalling the terror created by the mayor when she was a child. Valam (played by Avtandil Makharadze) has a Hitler mustache but is clearly based on Lavrenti Beria, who before being head of the Soviet security services, was the top leader in Georgia, and under whose rule the worst part of the great purges happened (Beria was known for its particular cruelty). Keto's father was the painter Sandro Barateli (played by Edisher Giorgiobani, a redhead who looks like Vincent Van Gogh) who was arrested by Valam after he tried to protest the destruction of an ancient church (regarding the name, it might be worth noting that one notable victim of Beria was the theater director Sandro Akhmeteli).

This might be the most anti-communist film ever made in the Soviet Union, though its aesthetics are very much in the Soviet tradition of the Brezhnev era. I might be wrong, but I think this was the first time a Soviet film touched on the issue of the Stalinist "repressions". In a touching moment, Keto declares on the stand that such actions cannot be forgiven (this was filmed during a period in history where the repressions were hardly mentioned at the official press). It's amazing this film was even made. It was released in 1987 to wide acclaim after being shelved for several years. The movie goes beyond criticizing the "excesses" of Stalinism, but goes on to attack the heart of the Soviet system. On the minus side, the movie is sometimes overwrought and has a lot of surreal, bizarre touches, that are not always successful. And at around two hours and a half, the film is also too long, with parts that are a bit of a struggle.

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