As interesting and different as it is to depict existence while focusing on the realistic origins of cinema, so different is the essence of detailed existence for any director. It might turn into an effect of delight or at least a desire to comprehend a new world – that's how it might appear from the director's viewpoint... However, this is only a supposition. Plot motifs of the desire to perceive oneself, which are the concern of filmmakers of all generations, are often reflected in such detailing of the components of existence and, not infrequently, quote many different moods.
"Winter Depression" (“Winter Blues”, 2021) is Tazo Narimanidze’s (screenwriter and director) directorial work, one of the main goals of which is to convey sincere emotions to the audience, partly might be a constituent and natural result of this drama itself. The film's main character (or characters, since we can't consider this drama without some dramatic characters) is a young writer who, in order to overcome depression and an obvious crisis in his family relationship, returns to his native village, where an accidental love story turns into a decisive solution to his drama: the story of the hero’s tragedy who is deeply involved in this relationship is revealed to the audience – he and his wife lost a small daughter. Here, it is the expression of this and the hero’s return to his wife and a new life that becomes the answer to the dramatic question of the film – turning back to your origins, only after you realize the desire and necessity of it.
Winter depression, which begins and ends in summer in a slightly ironic allegory, makes first footsteps against the background of wide, rich landscapes, scarcely loaded, simple interiors and green landscapes lost in the grassy hollow. The whole dramaturgical framework of this new relationship (Anastasia Chanturaia and Giga Datiashvili) is, at a glance, built on an intonation slightly devoid of emotion – two young people idly moving and, from time to time, pleasantly distant, and familiar (similar to the slightly "tired" contemplative heroes of Georgian cinema). And at the same time, they are formed as lonely people who are left with themselves, rather than as two participants in a specific drama. It is possible that the adequate, matching characteristics of this idly-moving action are exactly what Tazo Narimanidze wanted to present. Moreover, everything that is related to low-budget cinema, as a rule, still creates a prerequisite of some specific form – less directed towards tempo-rhythm or, rather, rarely directed towards the form of rhythm and dynamics, which can depend on additional other funds. However, this does not affect the value of the artwork either positively or negatively. It's just that there are associations about emotions that are slightly closed, placed in the characters’ deep consciousness, which were so peculiar of a part of the heroes of the 1990s during the crisis period of Georgian cinema.
But not this time – this drama is very tragic and, at the same time, very difficult to accept in order to understand the frames of the characters’ behavior or intonation, as well as style, manner as a critical line. Everything becomes a clear, simple perception when we learn about the loss of the main character, but it is still monotonous for a long time and a whole series of evaluations, until the relationship between the two people becomes something.
Personal breakdown – everything that is inexpressible seems to be lost in the rich landscapes and at some point the work of the production designer, Kote Japaridze and the cameraman, Guri Goliadze, attracts more attention than the given story itself, the bearer of unspoken sadness.
The two filming locations, in long, prolonged shots and less montage cutting, ask for a victim of the winter-summer depression, and this victim, according to the traditional rule of the drama, affects all of the main characters in some way – more or less. It is possible that this is where a specific feeling of inconsistency appears, where the decision is made clear in the main characters’ betrayal – the young man returns to his family (or it would be more correct to say that he finds his own beginning) and the girl, despite the feeling, understands all this or knew from the beginning that this would happen. There is nothing strange or unnatural about it, only a series of emotional and coherent organic evaluations seems, to say the least, quickly and inappropriately placed in the artistic task. The characters are in rush, while the announcement of the decision resembles a mirror of nihilistic emotions again and again, which no longer ties the artistic fabric of the film into a whole narrative. The dialogue between the two characters depends entirely on the interplay of wide, long waits and inappropriately fast-cut lines. This very unnaturally fits the mood, which develops from the beginning to the announcement of the hero's tragedy, in the character of the hero in search of himself.
"I still forget" – he inadvertently blurts out about his child to his friend (who is one of the different, naturally positive characters throughout this fast-paced story, with a few appearances to break the familiar rhythm). This very human and terrible feeling, which is not equal to forgetting one's son, but to the subconscious desire to return to the living, requires an artistic solution, since it is not so easy to correctly identify this accent. And not intonation, but because it lacks the appropriate, organic sense of action of clearly, naturally spoken words. In any case, such an impression remains. Where emotion predominates, there is no natural transition to another area of action.
It must be said that this is not the only exception among the episodes of the film. Quite often, the eye-catching landscape and the artist's refined, detailed accents in the interior are much more expressive than the motivation of behavior, devoid of initial simplicity, starting with stingy verbal episodes in the main character's dwelling. The conflict with oneself and the conflict with the other person in heavily and indifferently filled rooms, leaves a more interesting feeling than in the quiet space of nature. An unskilled hand-painted silhouette seen by chance on the wall also becomes more important in the film's finale, as does the messy dwelling.
There is also an episode with a psychologist – incoherently empty and less interesting in terms of irony, since the mannered psychologist and artificial stars found on the ceiling, presumably shining at night, appear as a meaningless insert between two worlds – the writer's residence and his village.
The first-person narration, the discontinuous story saturated with a photo archive is also interestingly dramatic and ironic in its place and form, if not for its meticulously fragmented character and often fast, choppy, interrupted narration.
"Like Homo Sovieticus" – it is a little less ironic, funny and even more fake to hear such assessment of his father's visit to the psychologist in the main character’s narration, especially since it has nothing to do with the overall story, and it is not the only replica in the story that is left without such a function.
Winter depression in a summer landscape, that is, the hero’s immovable sadness who goes in search of himself – so we can perceive more clearly and more dramatically what the plot of the tragic story turning to life tells us.