Dedube The Last Stop (2017) **** Georgian Retro | DocLisboa 2020

October 29th, 2020
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Shorena Tevzadze; Documentary, Georgia 2917, 100 min.

An old couple losing their little shop to a world they don’t understand anymore is the focus of this documentary debut from Georgia’s Shorena Tevzadze.

Dedube was once the last stop on the Tbilisi underground, giving life to a thriving market suburb that opened in 1966. Today the train hardly stops, relegating Dedube to a backwater. Nico and his wife Tsitso pour all their enthusiasm into a store euphemistically called the ‘Veterinary Pharmacy’. Unable to move with the times – they basically sell next to nothing as the stock is now out of fashion: bits and bobs that used to be sought after are pretty much relics from the Soviet era. Tsitso tries to make a bit on the side offering blood pressure tests, and then selling remedies against hypertension, even when the readings are normal. But a customer asking for poison to kill his dog is sent away with a flea in his own ear: “I am a doctor, not an executioner”. Taking life easy is what he’s always done in Dedube’s fast lane: “A simple bite to eat, then a rest to escape this hectic environment”. Nearby a small TV blasts everything from sports to politics non-stop.

Nodar, a local singer, riffs on the dwindling decline with plaintive ballads on his classical guitar. Hoping against hope that things will one day get back to normal “Everything changes, but not Nico”. The shop next to the ‘pharmacy’ has installed an ATM, but this latest ‘mod con’ makes no odds as hardly anyone uses it. Lili, a street vendor, pops in several times a day to moan about the lack of business. Finally, Nico (“I don’t care about the next life”) has to acknowledge defeat and dismantle the place – nobody wants to take anything, not even for free. He puts the shop up for rent and leaves his former ‘paradise’ with the streets flooded and the ATM still unused.

The strength of this documentary lies in the quiet observation of everyday trivia: every last object has a story and a quaint fascination for Nico and Tsitso, they resemble children they never had. Nico hoped patience would help him to survive, but contact with the outside world faded day by day. Tevzadze’s snapshot of a changed world and the loss of identity is pitifully tragic, verging on magic realism. Thoughtfully captured and full of sad humour this intricate portrait of a fading world is a paean of immense quality and a tribute to the lost store holders of Dedube. AS




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