When I caught this at the 1987 San Francisco International Film Festival (where it was titled 'Fireflies') the festival program notes called it an extraordinary film, and it is: an extraordinary film about the quite ordinary life of a ten year old peasant girl living in rural Soviet Georgia. With a delicate beauty rarely seen on screen these days it captures the natural rhythms of life in a place where time has long been measured only by the rise and fall of the sun and the passing of each season. Nothing happens to this young girl, living alone with her father, and yet everything happens. A runaway orphan boy spends the night, and together they help free an ox stuck in the mud while trying to think of ways to make the rain stop falling. A day of school is dismissed when a traveling string quartet arrives to play Schubert on a misty afternoon. Nothing is rushed; the film proceeds at a slow, measured pace, and is kept to a modest and manageable length of just sixty minutes. The result is an unassuming, minor gem deserving more exposure beyond just the film festival circuit.
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