Cinema Releases - Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry
Etero, a 48-year-old woman living in a small village in Georgia, never wanted a husband. She cherishes her freedom as much as her cakes. But her choice to live alone is the cause of much gossip among her fellow villagers. Unexpectedly, she finds herself passionately falling for a man, and is suddenly faced with the decision to pursue a relationship or continue a life of independence. Etero must grapple with her feelings and decide how to find her own path to happiness.
Republic of Ireland premiere - Dublin Film Festival Feb 26
Keswick Film Festival - Alhambra Cinema, 2 Mar
Borderlines Film Festival - Courtyard Hereford, 2 & 7 Mar
Malvern Theatres, 2 Mar
Regal Tenbury Wells, 4 Mar
Richard Booth Bookshop 8 Mar
Assembly Rooms, Ludlow 12 Mar
Elene Naveriani is a Georgian director now living in Switzerland. They graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Art in monumental painting in 2003. After a Master in Critical Curatorial Cybermedia at the HEAD – Geneva (Geneva School of Art and Design), they started their studies in Cinema. Their graduation short film GOSPEL OF ANASYRMA (2014) was acclaimed for their distinctive signature and stance.
Elene’s work is one that makes invisible stories visible, that makes unheard voices heard and creates a space for marginalised lives. Elene practises a cinema of resistance.
Their first feature I AM TRULY A DROP OF SUN ON EARTH (2017) premiered in Rotterdam and was awarded numerous prizes (Seoul, Xining, Valladolid, Porto). Elene also directed two further short films that received a lot of acclaim. RED ANTS BITE (2019) was nominated for best Swiss short film award and LANTSKY PAPA’S STOLEN OX (2018), a short documentary, premiered in Entrevues Belfort and won the Grand Prix Best Short. The film was also awarded in Tbilisi and Documenta Madrid.
In 2021, their second feature film WET SAND made its World Premiere in Locarno in August 2021 and earned the Best Actor’s Prize. Elene is currently developing two further feature projects.
WET SAND, fiction, 115min (2021). 74° Locarno Film Festival – Pardo for Best Actor (Concorso Cineasti del presente), Viennale – Vienna International Film Festival 2021, Santiago de Compostela, Cineuropa 35, 28th Sarajevo Film Festival, San Francisco, 65th San Francisco International Film Festival, Solothurner Filmtage – Best Feature Film
RED ANTS BITE, fiction, 22min (2019). 23. International Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, 49th International Film Festival Rotterdam, Saguenay 24ème REGARD – Festival international du court-métrage, 26th Palm Springs International ShortFest, 34th Leeds International Film Festival, 18th Bogota Short Film Festival, Encounters Bristol – Special Mention 2020, Brest European short film festival – Departmental Council Award 2020
LANTSKY PAPA’S STOLEN OX, documentary, 29min (2018). Entrevues Belfort, Grand Prix Best Short, Tbilisi International Film Festival – Best Documentary, Documenta Madrid – Jury Mention in International Short Film Competition
I AM TRULY A DROP OF SUN ON EARTH, fiction, 61min (2017). 52. Solothurner Filmtage, 46th InternationalFilm F estival Rotterdam, 41a Mostra Internacional del Cinema de Sao Paulo, Tbilisi International Film Festival, Valladolid / Seminci, Best Photography Award, 32e Entrevues Belfort, Special Mention Prix du Long métrage Janine Bazin, 30ème Festival Premiers Plans d’Angers
GOSPEL OF ANASYRMA, fiction, 29min (2014). Festival Tous Ecrans – Festival international du film de Genève, 27e Festival Premiers Plans d'Angers, Kyiv International Short Film Festival KISFF 2015, Lisbon, 12th International Independent Film Festival Lisboa, Tel Aviv, 17th International Student Film Festival, Prix du public – XPosed Berlin
|BASED ON THE BOOK BY
|ADAPTED FOR SCREEN BY
|Alva Film (CH)
|Takes Film (GE)
|Aurora Franco Vögeli
|PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER
|Marc Von Stürler
|SOUND DESIGNER AND MIXER
|HAIR & MAKEUP
|SWITZERLAND / GEORGIA
|(FLAT 1:85) (5.1, AND STEREO)
|2023 - 110 MIN - (In Georgian)
100% Rotten Tomatoes!!!
"A stoically independent Georgian woman in her late 40s experiences a gentle existential awakening during an affair with a local deliveryman in Elene Naveriani's offbeat, low-key drama. Naveriani has given us a most unusual feminist heroine, one experiencing the mischievous, rarely seen triumph of a woman coming into bloom just as those around her are beginning to fade: the last and sweetest blackberry on the bush."
Jessica Kiang, Variety
'With deadpan charm, Elene Naveriani maintains a slow-burning vibe that ripples with underlying humour and tensions. The characters are wonderfully real, while the film has a colourful, sardonic Kaurismäki-like quality that's thoroughly winning. And the underlying message is hugely empowering.'
Rich Cline, Shadows On The Wall
"The promise of romance changes everything in Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry, the third feature from Elena Naveriani which paints an endearing, bittersweet portrait of an independent woman at the mercy of society’s entrenched expectations. An irresistible central performance from Eka Chavleishvili adds to the appeal of a film that should readily connect with audiences who embraced titles like Sebastian Lelio’s Gloria (2013)."
Allan Hunter, Screen International
The title of Elene Naveriani's third feature makes poetry of natural imagery. If Ingmar Bergman hadn't got there first, it could just as easily have been called 'Autumn Sonata, focusing as it does on a solitary woman seemingly in the autumn of her life...who undergoes an existential awakening.
Naveriani's use of bold colours and deep shadow also recalls late-period Aki Kaurismäki, whose autumnally titled Fallen Leaves like Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry, premiered at Cannes this year. Both films are about a solitary shop worker who embarks on a relationship in middle age; both films share a certain sense of timelessness, with few signifiers of modernity; both situate their romances in a gentle but unmistakable social critique. In Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry, it's not so much capitalism under the microscope as gender conventions. All Etero's friends have settled down and procreated with their husbands.
Arjun Sajip, Sight & Sound
"The deliciously wry, gently unfurling tale of a middle-aged Georgian woman who rejects small-town conformity and experiments with love after a near-death experience."
Carmen Gray, The Film Verdict
"A rich character study of a strong willed woman who relishes her independence...Georgian filmmaker Elene Naveriani solidifies her gravitational pull towards examining rural social misfits with her elegant sophomore film."
Nicholas Bell, ION Cinema
"A striking ode to female independence...
In the past decade or so, the country of Georgia has produced many raw and powerful films from women directors examining the country's modern women as they seek their newfound independence. Elene Naveriani's romantic drama is a striking new entry to this film movement, anchored by a fierce and sensual performance from star Eka Chavleishvili."
Marya E. Gates, The Playlist
"A work of incredible depth, intelligent and intuitive, which can teach us a thing or two about finding pleasure in life, even if we think that ship has sailed.
A film as charming as its title suggests. At times contemplative and always exploratory...tells a bittersweet love story in order to present a much sweeter one of self-love."
Savina Petkova, Cineuropa
"Like its protagonist, the spellbinding sensibilities of “Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry” are a treat to behold."
Chavleishvili plays the commanding Etero with a dry wit, a piercing gaze, and an uncommon sensitivity. The film’s final shot, a knockout scene happy to exist in the liminal space between
Robert Daniels, RogerEbert.com
'Wry, sensous and surprisingly subversive, this gentle midde-aged romance ...
A sharp, no-shit-taken performance from Eka Chavleishvili shows up her fierce hunger for freedom and gorgeous woodland trysts, rather than the wifely drudgery of village life.'
Kate Stables, Total Film
'...In a harsh and judgemental world...this is a story that exceeds its love story status.
A counterpoint to the ordinary lives on show, the film’s production design also pops – bright greens and reds insist that life doesn’t have to be bleak. There’s optimism on screen, whether on the walls or in the mind of Etero, who is a quiet, radical force that flies in the face of convention. It doesn’t matter what age you are, Naveriani suggests. Pleasure and desire can strike us at any time.’
James Mottram, Aesthetica magazine