Friday, October 08, 2010


(Giulli) [Gjulli] (Sakhkinmretstvi / Goskinprom Gruzii, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, SU 1927) D: Lev Push, Nikolai (Nikoloz) Shengelaya; SC: Nikolai Shengelaya, Lev Push, Mikhail Kalatozishvili (Kalatozov); based on the story “Giuli”, by Shio Aragvispireli; DP: Mikhail Kalatozishvili; AD: Valerian Sidamon-Eristavi; cast: Nato Vachnadze (Giuli), M. Vardashvili (Kuchuch, her father), Tsetsilia Tsutsunava (Giuli's stepmother), Aleksandr Imedashvili (Ali), Kokhta aralashvili (Kerbalai, Ali's son), Aleksandr Takaishvili (Ovanes, the cheese vendor); 35 mm, 1980 m, 79 min (22 fps); from: Gosfilmofond of Russia / Russian State Film Archive. Russian intertitles.
Note that the title is pronounced with a hard G.
Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Pordenone (GCM), with e-subtitles in English and Italian and Neil Brand on the grand piano, 8 Oct 2010

SERGEI KAPTEREV in the GCM Catalogue: "The historical importance of Gjulli for Georgian cinema is clearly underestimated: probably due to its “modest” aesthetic message and resemblance to the earlier – melodramatic and exotic – productions of the Georgian Studios. However, Guili marked the directorial debut of Nikolai Shengelaya, one of the most original and influential personalities in Georgian silent cinema, and the much less known Lev Push, whose convincing professionalism and expertise in the melodramatic genre deserve greater attention.
Shengelaya, an active member of the Georgian avant-garde, had been assistant director with Kote Mardzhanishvili, a theatrical innovator and one of the founders of the Soviet Georgian cinematic school. St. Petersburg-born Push had worked in Georgian cinema since 1916; since 1922, as editing director.
Giuli also became a testing ground for Mikhail Kalatozov’s cinematography in narrative cinema. His feeling for the sublime in nature demonstrated itself in the landscapes of the Caucasus Mountains; and for the dynamic and the symbolic, in expressive flashes of movement and shots of “meaningful” details much lauded at the time of the film’s release. Moreover, one is tempted to see a remembrance of Gjulli in Kalatozov’s canonic directorial work, The Cranes Are Flying (1957), as both films tell the stories of young women challenging rigorous moral norms.
Giuli should be first and foremost regarded as a transitional work, as a link between the “orientalism” of early Georgian films and the groundbreaking novelty of another drama of inter-confessional love, Shengelaya’s Eliso (1928), as well as other cinematic experiments undertaken by Georgian filmmakers at the turn of the 1930s. – SERGEI KAPTEREV."

A fair to good print. A fascinating and assured presentation of the milieu and the costumes. The scenes depicting traditional ways of living and working methods probably have documentary value. Nato Vachnadze is convincing as the spirited Giuli. There is tragedy as Giuli's boyfriend protects Giuli's father from two robbers and an accidental bullet kills the father. Giuli's stepmother then sells Giuli to the rich Ali who has "many sheep and some women". The looks are eloquent. Giuli' solitude is portrayed vividly. I was not able to see the end of this film.

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