Palatable: In Bloom

In Bloom (2013)
Directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross
Written by Nana Ekvtimishvili
Produced by Simon Gross, Marc Wächter, Guillaume de Seille, Nana Ekvtimishvili, Rémi Roy, Bénédicte Thomas, Jana Sardlishvili, Tsiako Abesadze
Starring Lika Babluani, Mariam Bokeria, Ana Nijaradze, Zurab Gogaladze, Data Zakareishvili, Berta Khapava, Tamar Bukhnikashvili, Temiko Chichinadze, Maiko Ninua, Endi Dzidzava, Zaza Salia, Sandro Shanshiashvili, Marina Janashia
While civil conflict flares in nearby districts, a blight of post-Soviet anomy concurs with the lovely efflorescence of two Tbilisian teens (Babluani, Bokeria) who with their families endure domestic violence, flagitious gangs and widespread privation. For a snapshot of urban Georgian life in the early '90s, this can't be bettered for vividity or poignance, portraying with spare style and roundly excellent performances an otherwise sane society weirdly wonted to barbarisms. Babluani's glowering gamine sifts through her imprisoned father's movables as debris chipped in familial abruption, Bokeria's bilious beauty struggles with unceasing parental hassles while she's courted by toughs (Gogaladze, Zakareishvili), and both find solace and ballast only in one another. Jostling bread lines queued for preciously rationed loaves and personal controversies feed ceaseless scuttlebutt, but amid the city's crumbling infrastructure, rampant delinquency, civil war, and adolescent gangs who commit abduction as prologue to matrimony and murder to settle niggling grudges, traditions persist in meat and music, dance and wassail, confirming once again that culture, not politics, binds and sustains.

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