Luka Beradze: Smiling Georgia

Georgia. Countryside. A village with the name No Name. In 2012 Misha (Mikheil) Saakashvili came to the village to promise – part of his televised presidential campaign for re-election – the villagers new teeth and smiles (!) instead of the bad teeth they had. Teeth were taken out leaving many toothless or with one or two teeth. Misha lost and no new teeth were placed in the mouths of the old people, who in this very well made documentary remember what happened – or did not happen!

In this very cinematic film, where the cameraman Lomero Akhvlediani shows excellent skills in capturing the surrounding beautiful landscapes, the faces of the old people, situations, like a wedding, a pig that rubs its skin against a tree, small conversations and monologues about the missing teeth and the missing promise – Luka Beradze, the director blends the absurd with the faces and comments of the villagers, who have no belief in politics… there are some hilarious (and sad) sequences, where the election cars come to the village with their flags and slogans. A quick tour with promises like the ones Misha made way back. In that way the film is much more than “once upon a time”, it refers to today, it has a standpoint and an empathy for the villagers, who are far away from Tbilisi and politics and media.

A fantastic sequence cirles around a tv presenter, who arrive to the village to talk to people who need help from dentists; she brings some along. The first woman wants to meet her and the dentist, but her husband asks her to leave with the words – “the dentists are welcome but without camera”, the second woman has already got dentures so she is not interesting for the tv woman’s show… Oh, who asked me to contact these women for MY show!

The ruling party in Georgia is called Georgian Dream!!!

Veery good film, it will travel, deserves to!

Georgia, Germany, 2022, 61 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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