I am giving Brigands the highest mark. However, I believe it is virtually impossible to appreciate the movie without sufficient knowledge of Soviet history and perhaps some involvement into Perestroika and post Perestroika cultural context.
The film is an antithesis to very famous movie by Tengiz Abuladze (also a Georgian as Iosseliani) Monanieba (Confession). The later was one of the first attempts to rethink and reevaluate the past involvements of all layers of society in Stalin terror. It was of special significance that a Georgian has made such a film because Stalin even until now possesses a status of icon in his home country. Confession took a stance that all that had happened was a great tragedy and everybody was guilty to have let it happened.
Brigands, on the other hand, portraits the Stalin terror as something very mundane and boring, pushing a viewer to only one logical conclusion that it was unavoidable having in mind that authorities in all times had been no more than ordinary brigands, gangsters and robbers. Iosseliani uses the same cast to play historically parallel roles from medieval Georgia to the very recent events of collapse or the Soviet Union. The same actors and repeating at least in spirit parallel events create some static recognizable core in seemingly distant and different stories.
The film appeals to various known historical facts such as personal Stalin involvement in criminal acts of bank robberies before Bolsheviks had noticed him.
It is a masterpiece in both cinematographic and philosophic way.
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