Blackbird Blackbird BlackBerry (2023) Directors’ Fortnight 2023

May 21st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Elene Naveriani | Drama: Georgia, Germany, Switzerland 110’

Elene Naveriani is an unique filmmaker with a distinctive visual style. Her third feature, the enigmatically titled Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry, is a simple but thematically rich love story that continues in the same vein as her impressive second feature Wet Sand (2021) and luxuriates in the same artful framing and vibrant allure captured by DoP Agnesh Pakozdi.

Once again the plot centres on a close-knit community in rural Tbilisi, where the striking central character Etero, 48, nearly loses her life slipping off the side of a ravine while picking blackberries in the opening scene. Etero, who runs the village store, stands her ground when it comes to dealing with the bitchy village sisterhood, unlike the others she is happily unhitched and content with her sole status, a feminist without being aware of the fact. Appreciated but always mocked by the other women, she a warm and likeable person with considerable agency. Content to spent her life alone until she experiences the transformative affects of an impromptu sexual encounter which will change the course of her life forever in the film’s uplifting reveal.

Based on Tamta Melashvili’s feminist novel of the same name. Naveriani relentlessly portrays the more delicate nuances of rural life, and challenges Georgia’s heteronormative patriarchal structure in a narrative that stridently puts her position forward through Etero’s austere but appealing personality. She is prepared to welcome life’s vagaries, while also believing in her ability to forge a life alone even when she meets the somewhat sheepish Murman (Temiko Chinchinadze), who is seemingly unavailable. Eka Chavleisihvili gives a memorable tour de force as the modest, quietly philosophical force of nature; an inspiring woman who somehow attracts positivity through her staunch acceptance of life, preparing for the worst but always open to serendipity. MT

CANNES FILM FESTIVAL | DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT 2023

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