Winter. The season when time stands still. People lock up themselves in warm houses and almost stop contact with the outside world. They are away from it all until the sun comes through their windows again or they hear a swallow chirping. There is a huge chance of depression during this period. You, as a person, remain alone with yourself and have more time to express your emotions, to find out in life. Depression and existential crisis occur when favorable conditions arise and remain with a person for a very long time.
The film "Winter Depression" (2021, dir. Tazo Narimanidze) does not necessarily depict winter as a season. The main character, Sandro’s feelings for everyone seem to disappear. They seem to have gone to sleep and he doesn't know what to do anymore. He is no longer helped by a psychologist, nor by the process of writing a book. He is simply locked in his "home" and does not want to contact anyone, not even his wife. He sees the only solution in escaping and changing the environment. He doesn't even tell his wife to go with him. He gets up, packs things and goes to the village. The wife remains alone with her problems. Sandro's eyes are different. It is as if he looks at the abyss that appeared in the recent past and becomes sad. Happiness tries to reach him step by step, but he meets a big wall built of ice in front of him. Into his emotionless life comes Cecily, a woman who is like a light in the darkness. The one that is visible from a distance and you try to reach it. You know it can burn you, but you don't give up.
Sandro does not fall in love with Cecily. He either does not know love, or long ago, he buried this feeling somewhere deep, put it to sleep and could not wake up. Cecily might not love the boy either. They become each other's own "comfort zone" and try to create a calm environment where both feel alive. The boy's emotions died down after his son's death. It was only during his last hug that he felt human, and then he turned into a mechanical creature that probably needed nothing to live except sex.
The negative side of the film could be considered the moving camera. But as a result of long-term observation, it is precisely because of the moving camera that the viewer begins to live in the film. It's as if the camera and the person have one eye, blurring the line between reality and illusion. The title "Winter Depression" is difficult to understand. At first, it seems as if the director did not think much about the title and named the film the first thing that came to his mind, but if the viewer looks carefully, he will understand the secret hidden in the title towards the end. "Winter Depression" is winter as a period of time stopping, something dying or freezing. This is the time when nature sleeps and nothing remains for happiness. It is cold, and this cold, apart from the body, also freezes the soul. Spring always comes after winter. Cecily is probably the spring for Sandro. After all, she woke him up from his winter sleep, and the writer dedicated the book to Cecily.
The narration of the film seems to be chaotic, it follows the story inconsistently. It is difficult to understand whether this is the director's idea or simply the fault of the screenplay. I wonder what the director wanted to say with this? Which question did he ask at the beginning and did he answer it in the end? Where does depression end and where does the road to happiness begin? Perhaps where a person starts to think about himself first and then about others.
Long continuous shots allow disconnection from the real world and it's easy to be in the "here and now"- living the characters' lives and feeling their pain. It's as if the audience is there, at that particular moment, and even stealing corn with them or sunbathing on the river. There is no feeling that you are looking at all this from the outside.
And yet, what is the beginning of depression in Tazo Narimanidze's film? Maybe loneliness. Each character has his own share of loneliness and will drag it with his shoulders until he wants to find a way out of this loneliness. Sandro is alone because he doesn't have a child anymore, he can't finish the book and the psychologist can't help him, there's no point in being with friends or talking to his wife. The wife is alone, because she didn't try to talk about her problems, she didn't try to accept the pain that life brought her, she doesn't face the reality, she tries to escape everything in her own way, she doesn't talk to her husband, she goes to work early and when she comes back, she sleeps. The gap between them is the fault of both. They don't sit and talk about their pain, they just get up, pack up and run. Where is the love at this time? Probably nowhere else. The boy walks in a closed circle. He returns to where it all started - with his wife. However, he could start a better life with Cecily.
As a viewer, until the end of the movie, I expected that Sandro would wake up in some episode and that everything what he experienced with Cecily would turn out to be a dream. All good things come to an end soon, and that's what happened to both of them, and the whole film can be summed up in one phrase: "Winter depression" - the concept of naked loneliness.