The documentary film made by Tinatin and Khvicha Emiridze, "Respublika" was shot in 2021, when the world was in complete pandemic lockdown and waiting for new cataclysms... However, as always, and not only then, waiting for a disaster is a usual thing, for a usual over-burdened environment. And yet, the main character of "Respublika" is an unusually thoughtful son of this ordinary world, probably one of those people who have survived somewhere, who remembered for generations that "we are responsible for our little brothers" or "because of them." Or "we are responsible for their lives" and so on, endlessly...

For a society (only for a part) immersed in ego trip and the facile glamor of social media, it is difficult to participate in what one preaches. At least, it's so simple – there is nothing for a person speaking about morality, who has turned into a mentor, to make a whole cascade of appeals to crush humanity on the topic: "Let's love everyone and everything around us." And some can make it a way of life. The entities for whom there is no one to thank even on a narcissist-obsessed earth. However, if there are people like the main character of this film, it means that there are also people interested in his personality, and therefore, the world of manners, postures is possible, not so numerous, fortunately for us.

The story of a man living on a garbage dump, who takes care of stray animals in Batumi, is more similar to an unbelievable character in a fairy tale. Davit Basiladze dreams of building a republic immersed in the goodness of heaven – a small space where all beings, animals, birds, and people will have a chance to save themselves and live peacefully. For this, he spends winter and summer, works at the garbage dump, collects, donates, builds, throws and searches, takes care of it tirelessly. The sight of this lean, rolling-eyed silhouette in the sun and on a snowy road, chased by dogs, goats, and their kids, reminds me more of biblical stories than many essays on the subject. As sad as this portrait is, so clear is the main origin, goal, desire of his life and the vision of this life by the directors – as clearly as possible, this small figure working in the background of the existing reality, who, perhaps, unlike many people, feels directly and carelessly, what he came to this world for and how he gets into the lens, he continues his daily activities as if nothing new and strange has been added to his existence these days. Probably, this strange aesthetic of the main source, the garbage dump as a texture and the image moving on it, may even (and should be) violate our idea of the standards of some eternally existing, fascinating world, but a natural question also arises: does this world even exist? And not only in Batumi, it exists in a different way, it breathes and feels like everywhere. And just like everywhere else, this world has its heroes and anti-heroes, weak people and soldiers born for true goodness – warriors of existence, soldiers who can solve the pain and problems of the stray puppy without any prior punishment. Let this man also have a less easily discernible part of his habits – it is his strange naturalness and easy-to-understand logic that commands respect where you least expect it – the dump, the place that represents, to say the least, the most embarrassing, unsightly part of our existence, and displays clearly.

Fields of visual arts often strive to discover and present such reality, which itself, thanks to its own content, will be eloquent. In spite of such eloquent texture of every episode of the garbage dump buried in the deafening cries of seagulls, in the documentary film of Tinatin and Khvicha Emiridze, it is still much more important to hear and see the constantly acting and moving body of this strange film hero, and his direct replies.

This hero knows that we are responsible for the well-being of our little brothers. He doesn't tell us about it, but he knows that it is so, with all his actions, steps... It is possible that in some episodes the rhythm of the narrative will be sluggish, slow, and the process of repairing and reconstructing a building left in the rain without any details and building is really inappropriately dynamic, but, in the end, the story itself, even in its hidden, non-violent moral form, still forces you to become a part of this existence.

Not hypocritical, but truly humane morality is not expressed in the documentary material – it is visible if we are interested, it is very easy to read and lies in the palm of our hand. No one knows and nothing can be predicted how long it will take to build the republic of the main character. However, the longer we watch this film, the clearer it becomes that even though he is surrounded by people, he, such a hero, is alone in such careless love and no one can compete with him in idealistic kindness. It is not necessary, though. The authors of the film do not even have to emphasize his most important quality: this person acts boldly, is confident in all decisions, and is still shy, which can be seen several times in specific episodes of this film. He looks up at the movie camera with a particularly awkward and natural emotion when he heals the goat and, finally, when he makes sure that it will be all right – just naturally, he smiles a little awkwardly at the authors nearby. This is quite enough for us to know the character, the eternal nature of the hero who avoids ours... and if he did not need to search and help, he would not talk so much about creating a dream republic anywhere...

We do not know how many times the ideals of the world must be destroyed so that it cannot understand why goodness sometimes rests on the shoulders of unusual persons. Instead, we know that it is necessary, we need to see them, these people. After all, cinema is an art that can be seen and felt...

Ketevan Trapaidze

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