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The one joy in the lives of a mother and daughter comes from the regular letters sent to them from Paris from the family's adored son, Otar. When the daughter finds out that Otar has died suddenly, she tries to conceal the truth from her mother, changing the course of their lives forever. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Accurate depiction of Post-Soviet decline and emotional regeneration
"Depuis qu'Otar est parti" is a very personal, I would even say, miniature story about very ordinary people, living in far less than glamorous conditions in faraway Georgia. If you are after that small-scale retrospective type of cinema art, you will enjoy the film because it portrays character development and relationship between three female protagonist very well - with deep insight and savvy.
But apart from being a solid and interesting drama that leads its characters through emotional debris to internal grit and, finally, to some glimpse of hope (for how, read other comments or better watch it), this film signifies for me, a native of the former USSR, a far broader and more intimate picture of the material and emotional decline in post-Soviet countries after the communist collapse.
Deteriorated poor Georgia and emotional confusion of the people was so authentic that I thought the film was shot by a native Georgian (Otar Iosselianni even crossed my mind) and was surprised to learn in the captions that a French director had actually made it. So real and natural was the depiction not only of the Georgian family's life with all those outdated interiors and city landscapes but also of the characters' psychological state, their behavior, their little skirmishes and caring relationship with each other. The film felt like being shot by a true Georgian, who loves and appreciates those quirky ways and habits of her fellow countrymen. The desolate state of mind, entanglement in those little ordinary lies looked also so familiar, reminding of the life in mid-90s Russia and today's reality in many backward provinces and republics of the former USSR.
I guess I should re-think my notion that only native artists can impart authenticity to the portrayal of national character and spirit on screen.
Kudos to Ms Bertucelli for capturing this murky but also hopeful Zeitgeist of the lost epoch!!!
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