Since Otar Left (2003)
"Depuis qu'Otar est parti..." (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  17 September 2003 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,314 users   Metascore: 85/100
Reviews: 28 user | 57 critic | 25 from

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 ... See full summary »


0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

12 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

How to integrate into French society when you are a young immigrant newly arrived in Paris? Just join the school of La Grange aux Belles where, whether you are named Agnieszka, Eduardo, ... See full summary »

Director: Julie Bertuccelli
Stars: Maryam Aboulgila, Felipe Arellano Santibanez, Miguel Angel Cegarra Monsalve
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a small French colony, a drunken man kills someone. While a guillotine is being shipped in, he changes, becoming a good and popular man.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Emir Kusturica
The Tree I (2010)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After the death of her father, an 8-year-old girl becomes convinced that he is whispering to her through the leaves of the gargantuan tree that towers over her house.

Director: Julie Bertuccelli
Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Morgana Davies, Marton Csokas
Late Marriage (2001)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zaza is a 31-year old Israeli bachelor, handsome and intelligent, and his family wants to see him married. But tradition dictates that Zaza has to choose a young virgin. She must be ... See full summary »

Director: Dover Koshashvili
Stars: Lior Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The true story of the life of Gavino Ledda, the son of a Sardinian shepherd, and how he managed to escape his harsh, almost barbaric existence by slowly educating himself, despite violent ... See full summary »

Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Stars: Omero Antonutti, Saverio Marconi, Marcella Michelangeli
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A little girl, Mui, went to a house as a new servant. The mother still mourns the death of her daughter, who would have been Mui's age. In her mind she treated Mui as her daughter. 10 years... See full summary »

Director: Tran Anh Hung
Stars: Tran Nu Yên-Khê, Man San Lu, Thi Loc Truong
Water Lilies (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Summer in a new suburb outside Paris. Nothing to do but look at the ceiling. Marie, Anne and Floriane are 15. Their paths cross in the corridors at the local swimming pool, where love and desire make a sudden, dramatic appearance.

Director: Céline Sciamma
Stars: Pauline Acquart, Louise Blachère, Adèle Haenel
Saraband (TV Movie 2003)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Marianne, some thirty years after divorcing Johan, decides to visit her ex-husband at his summer home. She arrives in the middle of a family drama between Johan's son from another marriage and his granddaughter.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Börje Ahlstedt
Vodka Lemon (2003)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In a remote, isolated Yazidi Kurdish village in post-Soviet Armenia, Hamo, a widower with a pitiful pension and three worthless sons, travels daily to his wife's grave. There he meets the ... See full summary »

Director: Hiner Saleem
Stars: Romen Avinian, Lala Sarkissian, Ivan Franek
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man grows up in Sarajevo in the 1960s, under the shadow of his good, but ailing father, and gets attracted by the world of small-time criminals. They hire him to hide a young ... See full summary »

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Slavko Stimac, Slobodan Aligrudic, Ljiljana Blagojevic
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A German Jewish refugee family moves to and adjusts to a farm life in 1930s Kenya.

Director: Caroline Link
Stars: Juliane Köhler, Merab Ninidze, Matthias Habich
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Atif Yilmaz
Stars: Derya Arbas, Deniz Türkali, Uzay Hepari


Cast overview, first billed only:
Esther Gorintin ...
Nino Khomasuridze ...
Dinara Drukarova ...
Temur Kalandadze ...
Tengiz (as Temour Kalandadze)
Rusudan Bolkvadze ...
Rusiko (as Roussoudan Bolkvadze)
Sasha Sarishvili ...
Alexi (as Sacha Sarichvili)
Duta Skhirtladze ...
Niko (as Douta Skhirtladze)
Abdellah Moundy ...
Le berbère (as Abdallah Moundy)
Mzia Eristavi ...
Misha Eristavi ...
Fils Dora
Zoura Natrochvili ...
Voisin (Mika)
Alexandre Makhorablichvili ...
Micha Moudjiri ...
Directeur usine
Jacques Fleury ...
Homme d'affaire 1
Frédéric Payen ...
Homme d'affaire 2


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A subtle story of a lie for love that changes the lives of three women of different generations in today's Georgia. See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »



| |


| |

Release Date:

17 September 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Since Otar Left  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,763 (USA) (30 April 2004)


$344,974 (USA) (16 July 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Some kind of masterpiece: viewers of all ages and genders will be swept off their feet
15 October 2003 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

Three women -- a grandmother, a middle-aged daughter, and a university-student granddaughter, live together, male-less, in Tblisi amid post-Soviet economic collapse. An occasional hard-currency bill shows up in letters from a beloved son/brother/uncle, who has qualified as a physician but is working as a clandestine laborer in Paris. The women snap at each other, manipulate one another, and confront life as best they can, each from her own perspective and unique experience. There is a large apartment filled with treasured bibelots and French books, and the suggestion of a more respectable, Tchekovianly Francophile pre-revolutionary past.

An image, among many arresting ones in the film: during a thunderstorm the power has gone out, as it frequently does in crumbling Georgia along with the water and the gas, and the apartment is lighted by candles, allowing the granddaughter to study and to be bathed in a kind of De La Tour luminescence. Then the storm ends, the power comes on, and the magic effect yields to harsh electric whiteness. The three generations peel off electronically: mother tunes in local radio to Georgian pop, grandmother turns on the black-and-white TV to watch a comfortingly boring Soviet-style newscast on a new dam (for her, order has gone and all is lost), granddaughter pops a rock cassette into her player and continues to study in a room suddenly flooded with a light in which everything seems more banal, including herself. Great stuff.

The dramatic anchor of the film is an extraordinary performance from the ninety-year-old Esther Gorontin. This is anything but a sweet old lady: she is misanthropic, querulous, petulant and willful, and when she and her daughter are not spitting and spatting, she immures herself in self-satisfied nostalgia, muttering in Russian (never Georgian) that things were better under Stalin. The beloved son is yearned for, spoken of and asked about compulsively, something that is ostensibly treated by her daughter as a tolerable quirk of age, to be humored -- but you can tell it hurts. Stalin and Soviet order are long gone, and son Otar's absence (which is far greater than she is supposed to realize) has left the other huge void in her life. The family's Francophilia allows Otar's experiences in Paris (which are shown to have in reality been quite miserable) to be lived via a romanticized vicariousness that is fed by each letter, always in stiff, old-fashioned French.

Language is an issue, both for Georgia and for the cast, since only the striking, Jeanne-Moreauesque Nino Khomasuridze, who plays the mother, is a native Georgian and speaks the language. Gorontin is Polish, but speaks French and Russian, as does the granddaughter Dinara Drukarova, who is faultless as a bright young woman who keeps much inside and, as the absent Otar puts it in a letter, "rounds out the angles" in the family until, as young people do, she suddenly explodes at her mother with all her long-repressed, Hamletian resentment and spite (and, as young people do, does this at the worst possible emotional moment). Drukarova learned some Georgian for the occasion, but Gorontin understandably refused to do so. Writing and managing the script must have been nightmarish, but the way in which the characters switch from Russian to Georgian and back depending on context and interlocutor seems entirely realistic for post-Soviet Georgia, and the use of French as a language of refuge and a bastion of dignity is in this context completely plausible.

The film will no doubt hold special resonance for woman viewers -- the depiction of a universe from which men are kept at a distance, and of the bitter joys of aging and of inter-generational love and tension is all done with heartbreaking accuracy. But Julie Bertucelli's first film is, with a lot of help from the tremendous Gorontin, some kind of masterpiece and should sweep viewers of all genders and generations off their feet.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Highly rated, but supremely dull SurrenderToto
How ironic alishiek
What's the name of the song everybody sang and danced to? chrismcoppock
What's been Ada doing in France all these years? dsnasa1
Why does a movie set in 2002 use 1980s scenery? encephalomonster
Discuss Since Otar Left (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: