ფოტო: Pathe

4 Films from Tbilisi Film Festival That Reflect the Experiences of Queer People

Tbilisi International Film Festival is over. The winner of the competition program was Otar’s Death by Soso Biladze, and 2 works won the best documentary award – Tatia Skhirtladze’s Glory to the Queen and Salome Jashi’s Taming the Garden.

In the foreign films section, a number of films by famous or novice directors were shown, among which were a number of films based on the experiences of the queer community members. In this article, you will read about the 4 films that participated in the Tbilisi International Film Festival, that depict queer relationships.

Great Freedom

Photo: RohFilm

Paragraph 175, under which homosexual men were sent to concentration camps in Nazi Germany, ended the lives of more than 10,000 people. According to this paragraph, the castration and the elimination of the defendants was a common practice that did not cease with the end of World War II. This article was finally repealed in 1994, but many changes were made to it. Up until 1969, men convicted under this article were sent to prisons, with the purposes of re-education in West Germany.

After the end of World War II until 1969, 100,000 people appeared in court on charges of violations under this paragraph, and up to 50,000 were imprisoned. Great Freedom is a tribute to the victims of vicious practices that affected homosexual men living in West Germany. The film tells the story of Hans, who was repeatedly imprisoned during three decades for homosexuality and was the victim of cruel, degrading treatment and expulsion. The title of the film communicated the main point of the movie – the love story that takes place in the midst of absolute cruelty tells us about the victory of love in the remnants of the Nazi period, which is a sign of gaining freedom in the kind of environment where you least expect it.


Photo: Pathe

The story of Benedetta, who was admitted to a Catholic monastery at the age of 9 and who goes through the process of mastering the manipulation of the blind faith of others or believing in the idea that she was chosen by god is amazing to watch. The 83-year-old famous director, Paul Verhoeven, aimed to study the need for power, to tell the story of the vices of the church and the sexual self-knowledge of a woman in the patriarchal world. While watching this movie you will laugh, feel awkward, you will witness the tragic stories and you’ll have a lot of questions for which there are no direct answers.

Charlotte Rampling plays the role of a temple leader who uses the service of God as a business, seeks to consolidate power, and uses the idea of ​​consecrating Benedetta as a living saint for personal gain until she realizes that this weakens her authority. The events take place during the Black Death pandemic, in which the Catholic Church appears to be an apostate institution, in which those power are enjoying their lives and punish those that seek such privilege, which also offers interesting commentary on the reality of the today’s pandemic.

Benedetta, the bride of Christ, will embark on a path of sexual discovery after Bartholomew, a victim of sexual and physical violence, settles in the temple. Benedetta, who oscillates between the erotic revelations of Jesus and the passions for Bartholomew, does not shy away from the manifestations of cruelty to suppress her own desires and to prove to others that she is the Lord’s chosen one, which intensifies her desires and gradually makes her aware of the possibilities. Verhoeven destroys the notion of good and evil, and by the sudden transformations of the characters shows that all the concepts we have are unstable. Throughout the film, you also realize that there is no absolute truth, all actions are complex and inexplicable, containing in themselves opposite, destructive intentions. We probably won’t get to see Benedetta in Georgian movie theaters, but hopefully the film will be available online soon and you will be able to see with your own eyes the story of the destructive power of power, envy, passion, betrayal and blind faith.

The Girl and The Spider

Photo: Zürcher Film

The Girl and the Spider is the wistful film on this list, which does not have a direct meaning and instead gives the viewer various hints. That’s why, this movie is perfect for those that love to solve puzzles. A film about changes and losses will leave the viewer feeling uncomfortable and empty, which is something that always accompanies loss.

“Lisa moves into a new apartment, but Mara stays behind. When the process of moving the furniture and the boxes begins, the emotional rollercoaster starts to unfold. A tragicomic film. A poetic ballad about change and evolving connections.” – We read in the description of the film, which gives us only a small idea of ​​this remarkable cinematic experience.

The film tells us about how cruel silence can be and how hard, impossible it is to connect with other people, what kind of unnoticed details reveal that great emotional flow that can destroy everything. While watching the movie, you will collect many trifles, as if you’re solving a puzzle. However, at some point you will realize that human relationships are full of broken details and that all of it can never come together.

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar

Photo: Le Pacte

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar is a 20-year-old director’s film is about three friends who live in a real, hopeless, frozen-in-time Kosovo as they can only think about one thing – to somehow escape from the city that is slowly destroying them.

Three girls that live in a cruel environment and have nothing other than the friendship with each other dream of a better life, spending their days in anticipation. However, they don’t have the power to change anything, their country is lost in chaos and full of corruption, crime, patriarchal cruelty, all of which makes it even more difficult to escape. That’s why, he only relief for the three young friends is the formation of a herd of lion cubs, which allows them to vent their anger and frustration.

There is not even a spark of hope in the whole film, and the friends are on their path to crime. The only clear point is the manifestations of sensitivity among the girls who grew up in a violent environment, which helps them overcome the violent experiences at least for a short time.


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