When one loses a parent, he is orphaned, when – a spouse, he is widowed but when a child dies, it is so terrible that people have not even found a name for it. It is difficult to find an analogue of this tragedy and imagine yourself in the parent’s place. Tinatin Emiridze, with her short film "Black Sea" (2021), tries to convey to the audience the full depth and magnitude of this tragedy.

This is a story about a family that tragically lost a child. The film shows the life and loss of an ordinary family. Long after the tragic incident, the family members mourn, suffer from misunderstanding, do not want to come to terms with reality, no one thinks about the feelings of the only adequately thinking daughter. Grief has not brought the family closer together, on the contrary, every action of each of them pushes them further apart. They are one family, close people but they seem to live in different worlds, they don't understand each other's pain because tragedy is perceived differently for each of them.

How to rebuild a broken person, how to cope with the loss, how to solve the problem between the child and the parents? These are the sensitive topics that the main plot of the film highlights. In just fourteen minutes, the audience can experience with the characters the entire range of human emotions.

After watching this film, not much might change in the person, but it will help to understand the fundamental things, will give an impetus to return to what he loves and not get stuck in himself as it happens in the case of the film characters. Despite the pain, there might be something worth living for. Not in the old and perfect way, but still, even with the character of a daughter who longs for life so much. The film is about willpower, how easy it is to face the truth. As long as you breathe and live with every breath you have to fight, when you are on the edge of life and death, you need something to help you move forward.

"Black Sea" is an attempt to express the feelings of the hero without minimal articulation and monologues. Not a single word is heard in the film. It relies entirely on emotions expressed without words. The plot does not offer any significant originality in terms of emotional development, but a hidden philosophy emerges clearly, which turns the usual narrative into something spectacular.

After the loss of the child, the parents’ life is like a dull existence, burdened with deep pain. They don't even have a slight attempt to grasp the horror that happened and move on with their lives. Their suffering only increases with time. Time is a healer, however, generally far from this family.

The film has a style and artistic value of its own, which originates from the internal monologue and content. It follows the classic model of a man, a woman and the tragedy that brings them together.

Desperate father (Nika Tavadze) lost hope. He does not care about the feelings of his wife and daughter. His son’s death completely changed his inner world. The only peace for him is the Black Sea, where he spends most of his time. His selfish behavior more and more destroys the family, which is on the verge of collapse. You have to be responsible for everything in life – love, marriage, children and yourself, you always have to find the strength in yourself to continue and live, even when for some this life is already over. The actor skillfully conveyed all the emotions and experiences of his character. Mother (Nata Murvanidze) can't even do household chores. To substantiate this, the author focuses on neglected household items and tidy rooms. Her thoughts are far away – sometimes with her dead son, and sometimes with her spouse who went to sea. Nata Murvanidze showed well her heroine's feelings, separation and inner emptiness. You unconditionally believe and sympathize with her.

Daughter (Anastasia Chanturaia) and parents live on two different poles. The girl wants to return to normal life as soon as possible, the other side does not give her the opportunity though. Parents cannot forget the bitterness of the loss and live as if nothing happened. Can't or won't they? Rather, it would be the correct wording, because they have a grip in the form of their daughter to continue living, although they ignore her. The girl has to fight with reality all alone. She is the only one who adequately assesses the situation. In order to deal with grief, you need to go through certain stages. The heroes of the film cannot do this and become more and more closed in themselves, which destroys them internally.

The director presents family alienation as a negative event, but at the same time, he does not try to overload the audience with any morals, but gives an opportunity to make a choice, what should be done if they cannot get rid of their grief after a long time. A question was asked about this, but you will not find an answer in the work.

The film has another main character and that is the Black Sea. It is a metaphor that hides the additional meaning of the work and specifies its subtexts. It is true that the director does not say this directly, but it can be read from many angles.

The sea is always different, constantly changing, thus resembling life. It can destroy, alter and renew everything. It can be a symbol of freedom and boundlessness, and it can also be dangerous and unpredictable. It plays an important role in shaping the plot, determines the rhythm of the work. To enhance the effect, the director uses color changes, the sea is sometimes black and stormy, sometimes blue and calm. By changing the color of the water at a turning point, it enhances the emotion conveyed. The sea has a different meaning for all the characters of "Black Sea."

For the father, the sea is a metaphor for the awakening of memories and the time in which all memories are gradually drowned. It is the only place where he can be close to his dead son. In this case, it is a bridge between reality and unreality.

For the mother, it is a symbol of fear, which took away her child and now has constant feelings that her husband will not undergo the same fate. She is constantly looking out of the window at her husband who has gone into the sea and checks her daughter to see if she is at home so that she doesn't get into any trouble.

For the daughter, the Black Sea is associated with separation, loss and longing. It took away the person she loved, now it is taking away her father and the opportunity to continue living.

Thanks to the cameraman, beautiful landscapes were created, nature, which, at the same time, is both beautiful and harsh and shows its omnipotence. There is no one against it. Everything from a person to a huge house is destroyed in the film. The heroes’ dwelling house is already on the verge of collapse. It is in the same condition as its owners – cracked walls covered in ivy, broken glass in the windows, unkempt yard. This atmosphere definitely penetrates into the soul and makes you empathize not only with the characters but also with the environment, in all this the person seems completely alien and unnecessary.

In many cases, the camera moves slowly to create a sense of tranquility. Father appears as a small figure in the middle of the sea. This emphasizes the idea that man is a small creature in the struggle with pain. Almost the rest of the work is built on close-ups. In this way, it is more possible to observe the characters’ emotions. Each shot looks like a painting, which is aesthetically very beautiful.

There is silence throughout the film. There is almost no background music except for the sound of the sea. The problem is not the deliberate absence of dialogues but their unnaturalness. It is true that sometimes there is more power and pain in silence than in screams or tears, but in “Black Sea” characters’ case there would probably be more benefit in dialogue, and therefore, they would be freed from pain. The silence brings their relationship further into a dead end.

The film is like a personal drama in which the lack of communication is clearly presented. It is not enough to simply accept the problem, the audience must develop empathy in order to believe the story they are watching.

It is hard to believe the selfishness that parents show towards their daughter. Long after the film ends, you'll be left wondering how much their feelings reflect the pain of real families who have lost loved ones.

The ending is open and conditionally optimistic. Although the film does not answer the questions asked, it shows how important it is to pay attention to the feelings of others. Sometimes the answer can be found in silence, and sometimes the only solution is to talk.

Teona Vekua

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