E. Niewiera & P. Rosolowski: Domino Effect

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.


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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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