Tangerines aka MANDARINS (Georgian: მანდარინები Mandarinebi, Estonian: Mandariinid) is a 2013 Estonian-Georgian film, directed, produced and written by Zaza Urushadze (Georgian film director and screenwriter).
Review by Lady Gaga Enguri
I think Zaza Urushadze should stick to his characteristic themes of idealizations of highly cultured Georgian families over the centuries, and to the effects of the Georgian Civil War on the lives of Georgian speaking families, and on romances between the sexes. Venturing into politics and Cold War themes is not his specialty. Yes, this film had some poetic cinematography which at times reached for the sublime, as in the works of the legendary Georgian poet Galaktion Tabidze, and we are one and all grateful for it. It is important to point out that this film would have been much more effective and powerful --as an allegory representing the inevitable outcomes of sly but spiteful human hatreds and prejudices-- by pitting modern Georgian farmers today against current European and American and South African agribusiness advisors and investors, planting themselves into the current Georgian nation now in this era. Such an allegory would impress the same points --more effectively-- that this film wants to score. A fable depicting today's beautiful Georgian citrus groves or lustrous grape vineyards in vivid colorful cinematography, featuring the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture and also aggressive Georgian labor & small farmers rights leaders and advocates, and all the various and responsible Georgian national law enforcement personnel, all vying for their interests, with an Estonian NGO trying to calm down the many sides as they negotiate a fair price per kilo, for grape and/or tangerine farmers, etc.
Not once in this movie was an Abkhazian person who speaks their native Apsny language either mentioned nor shown. The Chechnyan mercenary soldier character in the movie was not a good archetype for the jack-in-the-box final message of this movie. It should have been an Abkhazian and not a Chechnyan, who lay wounded in bed in the same obscurely located Estonian house, along with the superstar golden boy Georgian character, who was coddled throughout the movie as a favorite protagonist, scene after scene. I do not recall one time in this movie when it depicted in images or words that the Georgian Civil War was then also roaring just after the collapse of communism, involving Georgians killing Georgians, with no relation to Abkhazia in its early to middle phases of hostile conflict. Wasn't this supposed to be an 'impartial' antiwar film set in the time of the stoic and rugged transition to capitalism, from communism?
Agreeing with several girlfriends of mine, despite some touching poetic scenes from nature, the movie TANGERINES was as slow as the tangerine business in the same region today, and the acting at times was not very credible, and i don't know why Estonian farmers were growing tangerines [they have never been more than even a sliver of a minority in Georgia, in 1992 about 170 Estonians overall were airlifted out]. In 1992 It would have been preposterous for two old and lost and isolated Estonian tangerine farmers, who do not speak Georgian, to live and work on the dangerous border with Abkhazia, in the time of this film's era. All factors considered, this film seemed very manipulated. Also, many native Abkhaz [the nation/region is named after them after all, isn't it?] and Armenians who had been long time historical residents of Abkhazia, died defending their homes, from Georgian civil war mafia marauders crossing the border [Georgian right wing Gamsakhurdia nationalists and fighters for the 4 main mafia godfathers, especially the Mkhedrioni, entered Abkhazia with arms] and crossed the border en masse to make hostilities in the Abkhazian region, some in Georgian Army uniforms, and many did not even wear them, during the chaos and madness of the Georgian Civil War that resulted from the land lust of powerful mafias all trying to be top dog after the end of communism.
it was hard for me to focus on this movie, in that it was heavily overlaid with
subtle propaganda, in a glaring and tiring effort, to deliberately hide that
fact. The opening of the film presents itself as a sacred source of history,
filling the huge black screen with sharp lettered white captions
["Estonian settlements in the Caucasus go back more than 100 years"]
misrepresenting the miniscule number of Estonians in the entire Caucasus region
for the last 100 years [Caucasia
represents Abkhazia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, north Caucasia, etc.] The
very end of the movie makes Russians the only bad guys in the whole film,
cartoonish in their incredible wickedness. Why is that? Any Russian soldiers in
the south and north
What objectivity and balance can one expect from such a film? It was funded by the Georgian Ministry of Monuments, the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Georgian National Film Center, and the Council of Europe [which since the NATO bombing of Serbia has been very involved in the affairs of former East European and former USSR states and republics], all agencies or governments legendary for producing anti-Russian news feeds daily. There are no Abkhazian nor Russian sources of funding, nor Armenian, for that matter, in this movie. And this was supposed to be a neutral movie, coolly objective, without taking any sides. That is the way it is being promoted by many western reviewers and distributors. Here is just one link on Google that shows modern Abkhazia, how it was in the summer of 2014 during their election week, and it shows in fotos and words many Abkhazian people, who were completely neglected as a people in this "accurate and unbiased" movie. http://boudiccaarran.tripod.com/Abkhazia-Today.html
The opening soundtrack of the movie features a very beautiful traditional Georgian melody. But for no apparent reason nor connection to the movie, it closes and continues during final credits with a German language, sexy female singer's German pillow-talk whispering about "being together". Is this an endorsement of German Unification and a proposal that the same kind of union should take place with Abkhazia and Georgia today, the two becoming bedfellows?
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