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 ...
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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
I have always professed a weakness for films about fathers and sons, or more broadly, those which can make me weep. Since Otar Left did none of the above.
No matter, as the layers of truths revealed in Since Otar Left astounded me. For instance, this film understood middle-aged daughters. To a certain degree, they are jealous of the perceived greater affection their mothers have for sons. (I have seen such mindsets in my relations). This self-doubtful disgruntlement may not degrade their love, but it imprisons them all the same. Sadly, by the time a person (man or woman) reaches middle-age, a dogmatic mind invariably sets in. Reconciliation on above regretful things is hence, no longer an easy thing.
Swinging from the pivot of middle age lies two extremes of womanhood, youth and old age. Throughout, the grandmother displayed surprising power and tenacity. Her resolve to find her son and her acceptance of what she found, speaks volume about the steely strengths stored in those whom we'd often think too weak. The young granddaughter is idealistic, quiet but undeniably seething with latent anger. Blessed with uncanny intuition, she sees her spirits slowly sucked dry by the failure of the system and the heavy baggage of her family. Her ambitious decisiveness in breaking free from her chains, is symbolic and uplifting. It helped the film to end on a genuinely hopeful note.
On another level, there's a running theme in films I particularly respond to; the telling of "lies". "So what if we know (about the lies told)?" "So what if we don't know?" Goodbye Lenin attempted to essay this morality conundrum with a son hiding from his mother, the fall of a socio-political system. By shading its arguable propaganda with the sensitivity of familial love and stunning piety, that film dispensed a balmy mix of warmth and sincerity. Thus heartening tears were shed by this sentimental sod.
That said, it is now my opinion that the "tearless" Since Otar Left embraced so much more of above tricky theme. By film's end, it delivered something which only the greatest films do; invaluable human lessons. We may have been told lies or are guilty of telling them. But if we take the time to unravel the "truths" behind them, the lies may no longer matter. For sometimes, the purity of good intentions may suffice.
Hence IMO, to hail Since Otar Left as a life affirming masterpiece is highly justifiable. In a mere 100 odd minutes, it dethreaded the complex tapestry of the human heart and distilled life's essence into basic building blocks like trust, hope, kinship and unconditional love. It exudes goodness of heart and truthfulness of emotions. This effortlessly cathartic film shall receive the Sinnerman's stamp of approval till my saliva-laced ink run dry.
In closing, I think films like Since Otar Left cement my faith in a most purposeful of religions; cinema. For bit by bit, they shape my being and nourish my spiritual hunger. All in, they fuel my desire to chase for life's meanings. Hopefully, when this search is over, I will be found.
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