A fable in literature and cinema is an eloquent, expressive and multi-layered form, which excludes ideological-conceptual or intentional violence on the reader/spectator and is organized without standard frameworks, strictly established norms. It breaks stereotypes, is completely distanced from them and is governed by its own internal rules.

The form of the modern fable is even more free and open. It can fit into any genre and still remain free. At the same time, never lose either intensity or primary meaning. The plot, characters are typical and generalized, they have modern and contemporary features, characters. Accordingly, the created atmosphere is determined by convention, subtexts and a system of hidden codes. It is characterized by messages addressed to the audience and a strong position of the author, who, in turn, has a hidden essence, meaning and sense conveyed by a series of coded symbols and a set of metaphors.

Recently, in the world and Georgian cinema, the process of establishing new and modern forms of the fable has begun. One of the peculiarities is that didactics is no longer characteristic and is directed to the "philosophical" judgment of modern society, the inner world of society, the essence of life and values (preserved or lost).

Zaza Khalvashi's last film, "Lotto" (2020-2023), can be considered one of the outstanding examples of this trend and of new Georgian cinema in general. This movie is a modern parable. Zaza Khalvashi’s all previous films are also parables – "There, Where I Live," "Miserere", "Solomon" and "Namme," in which the author’s mysterious, mystical and inner vision and world – an unusual, spontaneous manner, a thoughtful, intelligent director - can be seen.

The action in "Lotto" takes place in Batumi, in an old, typical, crowded yard (in Georgia, we call it "Italian" and has a special microcosm of its own in Batumi) and beyond – in the old streets of the seaside town (also, in itself, with a unique atmosphere) and in nature, by the sea, on the seaside, in different spaces, in different interiors and nature, and shows the diversity of the world and people, their life, which is driven by the breeze from the sea and the incomparable fragrance. This yard, as well as the town, as well as the sea and the surrounding mountains, still have the old appearance, the traces of the old way of life and unwritten laws of relationships, which are gradually lost among the skyscrapers and high-rise buildings that are arranged and closed the space.

This fragrance and some invisible and untouchable inner authentic solidity and attractiveness pervade the entire film, which combines the director's personal adventure in this town, childhood memories, contemporary feelings and attitudes; which is a portrait of Batumi, fits into the microcosm of the yard and is perceived as an "autobiography" of many people, with signs of magical realism.

The structure of the film is based on the construction of lottery cells with numbers. Its "reels" in this area, according to the rules of the game, are arranged. First one cell is filled, then the second, the third and so on and so on, until this field is completely covered with people and their personal stories, until everyone and everything is tied and united by one story.

The presenter of the "game" is the director himself, who "calls" the players, as if with the reels removed from a small sack. With them, the sequence of filling the boxes is determined. Who "has" to appear, how and when, with his own number, that is, with his story.

In this yard, on one of the beautiful "survived islands" (which is actually like the one in the film), several families live. People of different types, categories, social strata and customs, who are radically different in their moral and ethical qualities, are united by many other circumstances and conditions, in addition to a common house. You bring together all that life in general consists of – that which accompanies each person's life – love, strife, inequality, unity, anger, pain, and the joy of love and unity.

"Lotto" is a parable about people, the disappointment of first love and the happy ending of another love, losses, the danger of losses, betrayal, jealousy, indifference and feelings, large and small. Shown in a gentle, delicate way, with light humor and self-irony, nostalgia and the joy and love of life.

The film structure, according to the lotto principle, consists of fragmented, as if randomly torn out of the flow of life, accidentally glimpsed, completed, unfinished stories, with an "unfinished" ending. It gives the impression that you have been in this yard for one or more days. Or you are one of the neighbors.

Some of the participants in the film are professional actors and most of them are non-professionals, but real people from Batumi, famous and not famous. People who represent their city are "reflections" of its image. They don't play themselves, but they create an image with the assembly of Batumi residents, with a mosaic arrangement, with a variety of fragments wrapped in a kaleidoscope, with multi-faceted nature and diversity. Each of them has certain signs, properties, and expresses and represents it. Their unity creates a panoramic picture of the society and acquires a different load, speaks a different language.

The damaged walls of the corridors, attics or other storage rooms of the houses located in this yard and the equipment devoid of luxury and wealth create a precise and organic environment. Overhead and bottom-up camera shots, the "uneven" and natural alternation of views show what happens behind the closed door, what happens in the yard and outside the yard.

Black-and-white images and different shooting techniques complement the expressiveness of the image, a plastic and fine solution. The limitless possibilities of the cameraman Giorgi Shvelidze's film camera, the contrasts of light and shadow, sharp and weak lighting, highlights and darkening, and the internal and textural contrasts of people enrich and diversify the world of "Lotto."

Variation of points of view, angles, views, shooting in natural environments – in real interiors, closed or open, open spaces, in different periods of the day and night, from early morning to the next morning, under different lighting – natural or with lanterns – on the one hand, makes everything natural and organic. On the other hand, it turns life into a metaphor.

There are beautiful scenes, compositions, views and landscapes, but not for the beauty of the shot and artificial curling, but to show the beauty of the world and man and his unity with the world, inseparability from it to emphasize the eternity of existence, to prove once again, the continuous rotation of the universe, the eternity of existence again and again.

Zaza Khalvashi could not finish the film. His friend and colleague, the actor playing one of the roles in the film, Zurab Kavtaradze also died. Editing of "Lotto" was completed by the director's family – wife Nino Papunidze, daughters – Tamta, Salome and Ketuta Khalvashi, producer Tekla Machavariani, son-in-law Giorgi Shvelidze and editor Levan Kukhashvili according to the concept and director's plan.

Batumi, like life, like the surrounding world, changes its image, but the real people of Batumi, their way of life, characters, relationships and the uniqueness of the incomparable Batumi speech are not lost and disappear anywhere. Nothing overshadows their open, lively, funny and beautiful world. A different, the same, diverse society, the fullness of which is created by this heterogeneity and fragmentation. This is what "Lotto" records, stores and distributes. Nor is the memory lost.

With "Lotto", Zaza Khalvashi explained his love to Batumi and the people of Batumi for the last time and, as it were, left us as a bequest, which is the goal of life and the belief – that, whoever and wherever you want to be – in a small yard doomed to disappear, in a beautiful seaside town, or in any corner of the earth – only unity, togetherness, love and support are what keep us alive, encourage us, add meaning and justify life.

Lela Ochiauri

Leave a Comment

თქვენი ელფოსტის მისამართი გამოქვეყნებული არ იყო. აუცილებელი ველები მონიშნულია *