One of Director Otar Iosseliani's stronger films. The movie takes place during several periods of time in his native country of Georgia: in the Middle Ages, in the early 1900s, during the Stalinist period (the bulk of the movie) and in the chaos of the early 1990s. The same actors often play different characters at the different periods of time (for example, the guy playing the medieval king also plays a Stalinist henchman and a contemporary smuggler). The movie works through vignettes full of deadpan humor, and a common thread of all the stories seems to be the absurdity of life, the arrogance of power and man's inhumanity to man. Iosseliani even plays a couple of roles here, as a Stalinist torturer, and as a present day bumbling projectionist, in one of the film's most elaborate gags. Overall, a great movie, with Iosseliani's caustic humor telling us, as the old Latin proverb said, that homo homini lupus, man is a wolf to man.
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