Varlam, the despotic mayor of a small town, dies. After his funeral, his body is repeatedly unearthed and buried again. Through flashbacks and dreamlike scenes, we witness his rise, power and ambiguities.
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
You will grind to dust anyone who stands in your way. If you're struck on one cheek, you won't turn the other one, you'll strike back so hard that the other's neck is broken. Your kind is not capable of splitting! You don't give a damn about good and evil. It's not splitting you're worried about, it's fear that's killing you!
Abel Aravidze as an adult:
You fear yourself. All your life you've been after prestige, proud of your model family, and, suddenly, your world is collapsing.
Abel Aravidze as an adult:
Yes. Your father is thrown out...
[...] See more »
It takes a very careful watching to truly understand all of the symbols of the film.
This film was absolute genius and, in my opinion, one of the best films produced in the 20th century. It is on par with films like the Seventh Seal and Schindler's List in terms of symbolism and philosophy. The only way one can not like this film is if one does not understand it- which is quite possible, if one is only haphazardly watching it and is not fully engaged, or is expecting the film to chew up the messages for you and give you something simple you can quickly take away without actually appreciating the movie- then this is the wrong film for you. In order to properly appreciate this film you have to engage in higher philosophical thought and reflect both on the lives of individuals of the Stalinist era as well as your own era, since this movie is timeless. It explores human nature at its basest level, and what causes humans to act in the ways they do.
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