Repentance (1984)
"Monanieba" (original title)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  March 1987 (Soviet Union)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 2,545 users  
Reviews: 26 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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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?


Director Tengiz Abuladze stated that the idea to this film was based on a real incident (a local dignitary's corpse being exhumed and placed at the family's porch in the western Georgian region of Mingrelia). See more »


In the surrealist scene where the painter (Sandro Barateli) and the disgraced official (Mikheil Koresheli) meet and Mikheil explains the absurd charges for which he is being tried, a jet airplane can be heard passing overhead. See more »


Old Woman: Excuse me, does this street lead to a church? I want to know whether this street leads to a church.
Ketevan Barateli: No, this is Varlam Street, and it doesn't lead to a church.
Old Woman: Then what do you need it for? Why have a road that doesn't lead to a church?
See more »


Il Trovatore
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

An astonishing portrait of a totalitarian monster
2 November 2006 | by (Somerset, England) – See all my reviews

This wonderful Georgian film emerged from the last years of the Soviet regime, but seems to have disappeared without trace. The final film of a trilogy by the veteran film-maker Tengiz Abuladze, it portrays a composite monster, Varlam (Hitler moustache, Mussolini shirt & braces, Stalin boots, Beria pince-nez) and his equally grotesque son Abel, both played by the same actor.

The film has a surrealist, dreamlike quality about it, framed by initial and final scenes in a cake-shop and with police almost comic in medieval armour. The main actions which initiate the plot are surrealist with the repeated exhumation of Varlam's corpse. The two monstrous central characters are no more than mayors of a small Georgian town - but there is nothing comic about their actions and the reign of terror they bring to the community. The elements of tyranny are revealed economically, with hints of atrocities and disappearances but only one brief torture scene. The overall message is that of personal responsibility. The tyrannical regime is not an anonymous bureaucracy but the deliberate creation of evil men. And the final repentance is a horrific recognition of those responsibilities. An unmissable film, beautifully made and superbly acted - if you can find it.

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