War in Georgia, Apkhazeti region in 1990. An Estonian man Ivo has stayed behind to harvest his crops of tangerines. In a bloody conflict at his door, a wounded man is left behind, and Ivo is forced to take him in.
War in Georgia, Apkhazeti region 1992: local Apkhazians are fighting to break free from Georgia. Estonian village between the mountains has become empty, almost everyone has returned to their homeland, only 2 men have stayed: Ivo and Margus. But Margus will leave as soon as he has harvested his crops of tangerines. In a bloody conflict in their miniature village wounded men are left behind, and Ivo is forced to take them in. But they are from opposite sides of the war. This is touching anti-war story about Estonians who find themselves in the middle of someone else's war. How do they handle it? How do the enemies act under third-party roof?Written by
Official submission of Estonia to the best foreign language film category of the 87th Academy Awards 2015. See more »
As the movie begins, it is freezing weather and condensation from every breath from Ivo and the soldier inside Ivo's workshop is seen. They step outside and it is not as cold and their breath is not seen. See more »
I will avenge my friend. This is a holy thing for us old man, you don't understand.
Killing a sleeping man, when he is unconscious, is that a sacred thing too? I didn't know.
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This film is flawless and one of the highlights of the Montreal World Film Festival 2014. It also was recognized with many international prizes in Europe, North America and even Israel. It captures the incoherence and inhumanity of war from the point of view of innocent civilians and of dehumanized soldiers. The pace and plot are crisp, compact and conscious-elevating with a spectacular, yet simple screenplay. The cinematography and music match and enhance the emotional and philosophical human drama. The acting from the all-male cast is poignant and powerful in its restraint. Zaza Urushadze's text comes to life like a play in this sometimes claustrophobic confine which only heightens the inherent tension between the protagonists. The directing does however balance this with the sad beauty of rural Abkhazia conflict zone. The simple sets set the mood and this movie is shooting for the moon.
Alexander Kuranov returns as the editor after teaming up with Zaza Urushadze for the excellent multiple story Three Houses (2008) and gets every cut and emotion right. The dialogue, like the film, is raw, unpredictable, mysterious and profound. It brings you the very core of humanity's hopes and fears. The theme of pointless war has rarely been portrayed so perfectly. It surpasses even seminal South Korean The Front Line (2011) and does so in a intellectual and emotionally effective way. Beyond that it is a human drama about people stuck in a conflict and how they decide to deal with it and each other. Is there a glimpse of hope or some guidelines we can learn from?
Be sure that I will be looking for Zaza's previous and next work. This is cinema at it's best.
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