Despite sharing the same destiny like other nations that belonged to the Soviet Union; the Georgian cinema has been prominent for his vibrant creativity. In fact, famous directors as the renowned Federico Fellini, has classified it like “a strange phenomenon, sophisticated, inspiring and moving.”
The first steps
The Georgian cinema began in the early 20th century like others Europeans countries, although by the end of the previous century, a film festival took place in Tblisi, capital of Georgia.
However, is 1908 the year Georgian historians highlight as the cinema birth date, when the directors Dighmelov and Amashukeli experimented with little short films in a very amateurish format. Four years later, the first documentary Akaki’s Trip was released by the filmmaker Amashukeli.
The next decades witnessed slow but sure first steps of the growing cinema industry within the little country. In 1918, Kristine was the first long length movie, released after two years of difficult recording.
The next decades until the 30s, Georgian cinema was influenced by the most important of literature and arts personalities. Furthermore, by those years Nato Vachnadze became the first big star on the Georgian big screen.
The specialists of European cinema and the Georgian historians agree that from the 50s finals until the 80s, Georgian cinema shined for its great directors and actors quality. Along those golden years were produced an average of 60 movies per year.
By those days a new wave of innovative directors started to shine the Georgian seventh art. Talented filmmakers made impressive achievements. Among them Tengiz Abuladze and Rezo Chkheidze produced Magdanas Lurja, a masterpiece honoured with the Golden Palm in Cannes and the First Prize in Edinburgh Film Festival, both prizes in 1956.
It is said by the critics that the most renowned Georgian director is Sergei Parajnov, internationally acclaimed in 1964 after the release of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and the mind behind a controversial style of socialism critics. Its rebellious films rewarded him with fame but also made him to pay the price by being imprisoned repeatedly.
Post-soviet era crisis
As the other countries under the Iron Courtain, Georgia experienced a financial crisis after the USSR collapse. The government founding for the film industry was substantially reduced and the private companies weren’t working smoothly as they were expecting.
Besides the economic crisis, the film industry plunged even more due to a civil war in the country. However, in 1992 Udzinarta Mze won the Silver Bear in the Berlin Film Festival.
In 2001, the Cinematography National Centre was founded with help of private investors to revive the dying Georgian film industry. Sadly, in spite of the efforts it hasn’t recovered the success enjoyed 50 years ago.