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Iosseliani stars in a monographic cycle at Punto de Vista and participates in the Chez les Basques retrospective with another film
Iosseliani stars in a monographic cycle at Punto de Vista and participates in the <i>Chez les Basques</i> retrospective with another film
Otar Iosseliani. By Henri Cartier-Bresson.

The Georgian filmmaker, Otar Iosseliani, will twice be in the limelight at the 9th edition of the Punto de Vista Festival. He will be the focus of a cycle, within the Special Sessions, in which five films have been programmed: the feature films And Then There Was Light and A LittleMonastery in Tuscany; and the short films Tudzhi, Georgian Ancient Songs, and Song About a Flower. Furthermore, Iosseliani will form part of the Chez les Basques retrospective, on films shot in the French Basque Country, where the film Euskadi Été 1982 is set.

With a space devoted to Iosselini, Punto de Vista pays tribute to a unique figure in today’s cinema, with a style that has been recognisable in each shot from his very early works. Influenced by Tati, Buñuel, Keaton or Renoir, his films are formally characterised by his agility in the use of the camera, his liking for long shots, his depth of field, his importance to detail and spaces where documentary and fiction hybridize. His films, filled with easily recognisable figures, are an argument in favour of traditional culture and a denunciation of the damages that industrialisation brings. All of this is seen in the selection of films proposed by Punto de Vista, a cycle focused on his documentary work. 

In his first documentary work, Tudzhi (1964), the Georgian films a working day at the foundry where he worked between 1963 and 1964. He does so from a respectful point of view that highlights the epic dignity of man faced with the elements. Sapovnela (1959), translated as Song About a Flower, represents Iosseliani’s jump to colour. The technical evolution that this film represents is also a montage ahead of its time, based on a hypnotic floral choreography to reflect on the castrating effects that civilization causes when it interferes with nature.

With A Little Monastery in Tuscany (1988), the director uses an unbeatable setting to capture the quiet passing of time through a montage that maintains the balance between the earthly world and the spiritual world. From Tuscany, we travel to the jungle in Senegal aboard the stills from And Then There Was Light (1989), the filmmaker’s most unusual and radical film, where he uses fictional characters and conflicts to give a documentary perspective to the phenomenon of colonisation and criticise the consequences of the modern civilisation. The cycle devoted to this filmmaker is rounded off with Georgian Ancient Songs, which begins with a toast and concludes in song. Iosseliani travels the most mountainous landscape of his native Georgia asking: What lies in the ancient songs? Essentially, he is seeking the response to what will disappear if these ancient voices are not preserved?

From an ancient culture like the Georgian, the director moves to another, which is no less ancient, namely the Basque culture in Euskadi Été 1982. With this film, which forms part of the Chez les Basques cycle, the director proposes a song, a testimony and a gesture of respect to “these proud and brave people who have managed to conserve their originality and their language, the oldest in Europe, throughout history”, as he says in the dedication at the beginning of the film. 

Maths and music student, Otar Iosseliani (Tbilisi, Georgia, 1934) began to direct his first short films in 1958 and made his first feature film in 1967, Falling Leaves, a critic of the corrupt political system, which won an award in Cannes. He began the 1980’s in exile in France, where he carried out projects for television and ended up putting his name to some of his best known films like Favourites of the Moon (1984).


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