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Swollen up by the spring inundation, the river falls down on the lowlands and before eventually throwing rocks and silts in the sea, gathers them here and there in the middle of the river. In several days, even sometimes overnight, in these shoals rather large islands are created. Soil of such an island is rich and fertile. An old man and his young granddaughter decide to grow corn on this island. But soldiers pass by.
Man versus Nature. Man versus Man. A Thousand-year story
Every year, the level of the Enguri River drops to uncover islands with fertile river-bottom soil. Locals can temporarily claim these islands for a season to grow a subsistence crop. An old man with one oar in an old wooden boat slowly makes his way to just such an island. He paces it off, digs the earth, tastes the soil, decides it will do, and marks his claim with a scrap of cloth on a stick. He leaves and then returns again and again, bringing supplies including scrap lumber to build a cabin with a thatched roof and then to plant corn with the help of his granddaughter who's in her early adolescence. Almost no words are spoken.
A big part of this film is thus man versus nature. Will nature allow the old man and his granddaughter to scratch a living from this transient plot of land? This part of the film might as well be prehistoric because it's so primitive. Intentionally so.
There's another part of the film caused by the island's location: in no-man's land between the warring country of Georgia and Abkhazia, a breakaway territory. This off-screen conflict brings soldiers from both sides into the film and we have man versus man versus man.
The film takes its time in all things. It's slaved to nature's pace and the growing corn. Things unfold slowly. Some of them aren't explained. That's the way it is in real life.
If you like artistic films with beautiful cinematography, this is a film for you. If you're looking for complex ideas and twisted plots, look elsewhere. This is a primal film about conflicts in nature, conflicts between men.
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