What Do We See When We Look at the Sky (2021) Berlinale Competition 2021

March 3rd, 2021
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/Wri: Alexandre Koberidze | Cast: Giorgi Bochorishvili, Vakhtang Panchulidze, Ani Karseladze, Oliko Bakradze and Giorgi Ambroladze | Georgia, drama 126′

Everyone hopes for love at first sight. And this serendipitous human miracle lights up everyday life in a Georgian city in the whimsical sophomore feature of Georgia’s Alexandre Koberidze, in completion at this year’s Berlinale.

The lovers in question Lisa and Giorgi meet quite by chance in their home town of Kutaisi (north west of Tbilisi) agreeing to see each other the next day without exchanging details. But a stranger has cast the evil eye on their happiness making them look completely different during the night and in the morning they desperately try to recapture the magic of their first flirtatious flight of fantasy.

Emerging brain-washed from their respective abodes these two are now played by different actors but still remember the passionate feelings of the day before. The tone is light-hearted, Koberidze making use of magic realism to show how they both fall into news jobs in a local cafe (owned by Vakhtang Panchulidze).

Meanwhile, Koberidze offers a glimpse of other lives in this city on the banks of the Rioni Rivier where everyone is going about their daily activities. Colourful disconnected vignettes spin out one after the other, in a city looking forward to the World Cup, even the local dogs. All the while people are singing and enjoying themselves in the leisurely atmosphere viewed up close and on the widescreen, there’s a magical feeling of camaraderie and a quiet contemplative glow but also a hint of wistfulness in the air giving the film a gently poetic feel. We never get to know the protagonists and so they remain distant, locked in this modern fairy tale.

Intoxicated by its own joie de vivre the gently tragic docudrama rather overstays its welcome at well over two hours but  DoP Faraz Fesharaki does his best to keep us entertained and enthralled with glowing images, using a static camera to enhance the film’s dialogue light often sorrowful final sequences. In a world with so much tragedy, conflict and seriousness, Koberidze shows us there is still room for dreams and serendipity.

The last film Georgian film in Berlin’s main competition was Temur Babluani’s 1993 Silver Bear winner The Sun of the Sleepless which garnered ‘outstanding artistic achievement at the event in 1993.



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