Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Two 14-year-old girl friends - pretty Natia (Mariam Bokeria) and homely Eka (Lika Babluani) - come of age in 1992 Tbilisi in "In Bloom," directed by Simon Gross and Georgian native Nana Ekvtimishvili.
I appreciate the film's look at life in Tbilisi - though we got more glimpses in last year's documentary "The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear" - including its depiction of actual bread lines, not long and orderly but compressed and chaotic. But only the two lead characters are even partially formed and I spent the first half-hour under the mistaken impression they were sisters. The filmmakers don't know what to do with their character study, so a plot-heavy final third involving Natia's kidnapping and semi-forced marriage to a young man deeply jealous of her mild flirtation with a sweet neighborhood boy climaxes in a disproportionate and tonally incongruous act. Even then, they go on, ending at such a strange point you wonder whether the projectionist missed a reel change.