Since Otar Left

Heartfelt story of human resilience from Georgia

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OPENS JUNE 4, CERT 15, 103 MINS

Charming, and far more substantial than it first appears, this comedy drama discreetly turns up the heat as it goes along, reaching an emotional boiling point by the end. Imagine Steel Magnolias as directed by a Truffaut acolyte by way of Chekhov, but set in the Georgia that used to be in the Soviet republic.

In a book-lined house, three generations of women?Francophile granny Eka (Esther Gorintin), her widowed daughter Ada (Dinara Drukarova) and Ada’s daughter Marina (Nino Khomasuridze)?have maintained a fragile grip on survival ever since the never-seen Otar, Eka’s adored son, moved to Paris. But when they hear Otar has died, Ada and Marina conspire to hide the tragedy from Eka, fearful the news would kill her. As the gentle farce of forged letters and near misses unfolds, climaxing in a fateful trip to Europe, first-time director Julie Bertucelli winkles out an affectionate portrait of female resilience and life in blighted post-perestroika economies. Ultimately very touching.

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