Director: George Ovashvili
Cast: Ilyas Salman, Mariam Buturishvili
In Russian, Georgian, and Abkhaz, with English subtitles
I see the film as almost a manifesto of hard work. The way the narrative unfolds is high art. This is traditional cinema at its best.
The dialogue is scant, but the visual presentation of an almost idyllic setting is marred by occasional sound of gunfire and patrolling soldiers passing by. The camera never leaves the Corn Island, a small piece of arable land floating in the river that separates two small countries in conflict, Georgia and Abkhaz. At the start of the movie, we see a conquest, where an old man is seen discovering the almond-shaped land. He tests the soil using his four senses: sight, scent, taste, and feel. Then during rest of the film's running time, we see hard work documented as the old man, with the assistance of his obedient daughter in the brink of womanhood, painstakingly transforms the island into an agricultural feat. The film ends in the same way it opens. I don't want to make details at this point.
The film is for the patient. I have to give myself a pat on the shoulder for having finished the movie without having to wrestle with drowse or slumber. Ironically, it aroused my interest, which kept me wide awake in awe. For the record, blockbuster, action- and effects-loaded movies almost always effortlessly send mo to sleep because they fail to tickle my imagination. Corn Island, despite its being almost a silent film is a resounding triumph of "pure" cinema.
Date seen: May 21, 2015