Dir.: Levan Koguashvili; Cast: Levan Tediashvili, Giorgi Tabidze, Nadezhada Mikalkova, Kakhi Kausadze, Tolepbergen Baisakalov, Yuriy Zur, Irakli Kavsadze, Irma Gachechiladze; Bulgaria/Georgia/Monaco/Russia/USA 2021, 90 min.
Georgian director Levan Koguashvili (Street Days) captures the essence of Boris Frumin’s idiosyncratic script – a fraught concoction of shattered dreams and fatherly love in exile, laced with dark humour and set in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, once a cultural melting pot for Jewish emigrants and artists and now home to Russian-speaking Georgian emigres not afraid to resort to gangster tactics to get what they want.
Soso (Tabidze) set off from Tbilisi with the best of intentions, his family lending him $15,000 to study medicine and pay Lena (Mikalkova) for a fake marriage and a Green Card. Once in New York the hot-tempered Soso develops a gambling habit, the money slipping through his fingers.
So it’s up to his father Kakhi (Tediashvli) to put things right. Arriving tired and stressed the former Olympic wrestler finds his son in a shabby boarding house, and soon devises a way of earning the money to get him back on his feet.
Amongst the motley crew of local Georgians – played by mostly non-pros – is fellow ex-wrestler Amir who has partly contributed to the problem, lending Soso the money, and now wants it back, threatening the young man and his father with a death squad. On a misty beach, with the now defunct fairground in the background, a bitter feud develops where they will eventually fight it out.
Shot by Oscar-nominated DP Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska) whose images of the decaying district fit in well with the dry absurdist narrative: the film shows how these hapless immigrants were aiming to capture the elusive American Dream. Instead, desperation sets in like the permanent fog that haunts the beach front, twinkling fairy lights the only beacon of hope they mistook for the promised land. Brilliantly acted, Brighton 4th is a homage to early Jarmush features: the greener grass of Brooklyn looking distinctly grey on the horizon. AS
Best International Narrative Feature Film: Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili,
Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film: Levan Tediashvili
Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film: Boris Frumin,
TRIBECA 2021 | 14 JUNE 2021
Red Sea: Competition Best Film: BRIGHTON 4TH by Levan Koguashvili – Georgia, Russia, Bulgaria, USA, Monaco.