Lana Gogoberidze has had a prominent place in Georgian cinema for more than 60 years. From the very beginning of her work, in the first feature film, "Under One Sky" (1961), her interest in the fate of women, their problems, which is inherent in all her work, was evident. But the reflection of this topic concentrates on the fateful and dramatic date of the totalitarian country – the year 1937, which destroyed the largest part of the outstanding, thinking, creative people of the country and their family members. The director focused on the tragic events of her childhood forever imprinted in her memory and the resulting emotions. As a result of studying the existing available and objective documentation, she, at the age of 93, made a documentary film, "Mother and Daughter or the Night is Never Complete."
The film begins with old, faded photographs showing a mother-daughter meeting or saying goodbye. In the background of their image, the shadow of a man with a camera in his hand can be seen. It's dad taking these photos. Unfortunately, the shots depicting their happy family turned out to be the last, as the voice of the director, who is both the scriptwriter and the narrator herself, informs us. As a young child, she was left without her parents in the face of a merciless environment – first her father was caught and shot, and then, very soon, her mother was arrested as a member of the family of enemies of the people and exiled to the Polar regions in the extreme north of the country for 10 years. The completely unjustified, absurdist-sadistic repressions of the 1930s reached their peak in 1937. There was no family left in Georgia, let alone a successful and distinguished one, if one or more of its members were not arrested, shot or exiled. Those who were less affected by these insidious and unjustified events were mostly either informers or silent followers of the regime's decrees, although they too often faced the same fate!
In almost all of Lana Gogoberidze's films, disguised or implied, the attitude towards this terrible, but at the same time unforgettable period is revealed. Especially, the pain of a careless childhood. Mother, Nutsa Khutsishvili (after marriage - Gogoberidze), despite her philosophical education in Tbilisi and Germany, decided to become a film director. This was only a men’s profession before, especially in Georgia. For a 25-year-old young, educated woman, the still new and relevant art was an excellent way to implement her progressive vision and ideas. The only woman in the group of men was not inferior to anyone.
Her first film "Their Kingdom" ("18-28"), a documentary dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the new country, was shot in 1928 together with the young but already famous film director Mikheil Kalatozishvili (whose innovative vision clearly influenced the work of the novice director). Next came the feature-documentary film "Buba" (1930) and the feature film "The Gloomy" (1934). It is true that these films were subject to the framework of Soviet ideology, but still they were distinguished by their individual fine solution, composition and symbolism. After Nutsa Gogoberidze’s arrest, her films also disappeared and no one knew about their existence. Only recently has it been possible to find them and return them to their homeland. This was Nutsa Gogoberidze’s rebirth and recognition. The research conducted by Lana and her daughter, Nutsa Alexi-Meskhishvili (co-author and producer of the film) in archives and film repositories and the help of the National Film Center yielded results, and the films of the first Georgian female film director started the festival journey in European and Asian countries, where it was met with great success. This impressive story is perfectly and flawlessly depicted in a film that impresses with its visuals, musical score and heart-warming adventure. The mother was arrested. Years passed, but she was not seen. The mother's lost life is described in her own stories, based on which her daughter made a film in 1992, "Waltz on Pechora." In the episodes of Lana Gogoberidze's other films, her constant sorrow and pain due to her mother’s tragic fate, who endured many trials in unbearable frost, in white infinity, in the circles of earthly hell, is especially revealed. In order to stand on her feet in the icy wasteland, not to fall and freeze, she turned to the tactic dictated by her heart. She told her 6-year-old Lana, who was left alone at home waiting for her about her beautified adventure of being bewitched by an evil witch for this endless journey through the ice kingdom, she asked her to hold her hand tightly, not to let her fall and freeze like the women who were probably let go by their children. This monologue with her daughter, who is thousands of kilometers away in her homeland, is the most powerful and more impressive episode than her tormented stay in the Gulag in the furthest point of the country. After returning home, Nutsa Gogoberidze did not tell anything about her 10-year-long missing life. Lana learned all this only from her stories and later published a collection of them, “The Train of Happiness” (2011).
Mother and daughter’s dramatic meeting of after a long separation is shown in one of the episodes of the Lana Gogoberidze's film "Several Interviews on Personal Matters" (1978). The role of the mother is played by the most beautiful Ketusia Orakhelashvili. She and Lana's mother were in exile together. She was also a member of the family of the “enemy of the people”, and the “enemy of the people” was her husband, Evgeni Mikeladze, the famous conductor of the orchestra in Georgia who was sadistically tortured and shot. It is true that Ketusia Orakhelashvili had no acting experience, but she said to Lana – "I will do everything for Nutsa" and, indeed, she perfectly played her friend’s role. This character is not perceived by her own daughter (Sofiko Chiaureli), because she remembers her young, beautiful mother, and in front of her stands an elderly person with a completely different appearance. It will take a long time for the daughter to call this woman her mother.
It can be safely said that Lana Gogoberidze dedicated all her creativity to her mother. By allusion or bold action, she constantly touched on this painful topic, and finally in this documentary she put it together like pieces of a mosaic, which finally appeared in one big beautiful decorated panel, like the visual reconstruction of the blue room (as Lana remembers her mother painted it blue with her own hands) where the production designer, Simon Machabeli, combines scattered, old, faded photos with blue paint or uneven pieces of paper of the same color and illustrates the general background of the story told in the film. The arrangement of collages, interiors and textured objects created by him is an accurate representation of the dramaturgy of the film.
The Professional work of French cameraman Jean-Louis Padis is worth mentioning. To achieve visual perfection, the movement of the camera is dramatically connected with the internal movements, which outlines the compositional solution of the shot and emphasizes the spiritual world of the characters of the film
Musical decoration is an important link in perfecting the structure of the film. The original compositions performed by Rezo Kiknadze on saxophone from the collection of excellent works by Gia Kancheli, Rezo Lagidze, Gio Tsintsadze are highlighted with important accents and seem to sharpen the tragic content of the film and, at the same time, add an optimistic note. Its composite inserts accurately express and intensify the events developed in the film. The same function is performed by Manana Menabde's impressive songs, which were the leitmotif of the Lana Gogoberidze's other feature film, "Day Is Longer Than Night" (1982) and appeared to us as the development of the epochal story. They organically and sonically merged with the plot of this documentary film based on real-life cataclysms.
Lana Gogoberidze, involuntarily, chose her mother’s profession. Moreover, she had no idea about the films made by her mother. After rehabilitation, Nutsa Gogoberidze never returned to cinema, nor did she mention her cinematic past. She died in 1962 due to unbearable physical pains (fate did not mercy her this time either). However, her already famous and successful daughter gave her mother eternal life with her creativity, and her granddaughter, Nutsa Alexi-Meskhisvili, who continues the dynasty of Georgian female film directors, is already starting to shoot her third film and, at the same time, supports her mother professionally.
With this documentary, Lana Gogoberidze 's creative circle closed and, it seems she has nothing left to tell or shoot which is related to her life, but as it was already remarked with Paul Éluard’s words in the title, as "the night is never complete," neither may the circle be closed completely.

Ketevan Japaridze,
film critic

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