I am sure that many readers of this review do not really know anything about Abkhazia… I was in the same situation until I came to Georgia, saw terrible archive images from the war in 1992-93, where Abkhazia broke away from Georgia, declared its independence and was only recognized by Russia and a couple of South American states.
Co-director Rosolowski is also the cameraman, who brilliantly has captured the devastated Abkhazian capital Sukhumi, the empty houses, the ruins, it looks hopeless – and it is on this background that Rafael Ampar, minister of sports, a proud patriotic man, tries to build his life with Natasha, Russian opera singer and mother of a child, who comes to visit. She has – to say the least – huge problems to adapt to a culture and the Abkhazian language, she does not understand, she argues with Rafael, wants to leave, there is no job for her, whereas her daughter seems to have good time with Rafael.
The scenes between the two, their feelings for each other and their endless discussions are conveyed with great authenticity, and a lot of humour, the dialogues seem natural and un-directed, he is the cool chain-smoking reflecting man – “Abkhazia is my homeland” – she is the Russian drama queen with constant ups and downs in expressions.
She leaves and comes back… Happy ending? Well, she arrives to the station with the baby, he has carefully prepared her return, but will it work? Will Love survive for victims of history and geography?
The title refers to the fact that Rafael stands behind the organization of the world championship in domino plays in Sukhumi (!) but it has of course also a broader meaning… USSR fell, Georgia got its independence and turned to the West, Abkhazia broke away (is that the right way to put it?) and is embraced (but not very much helped it seems) by Russia. The domino effect? Anyway, a very well made, a lovely film, that achieved three awards at the recent Krakow Film festival. Well deserved!
Poland, 76 mins.