The conflict of generations is one of the eternal and important topics in art. Misunderstandings between parents and children are not so rare, and the older the child grows, the more common it becomes. Many books have been written about it and hundreds of films have been made, so it is very difficult to create something unique. Soso Bliadze's film, "Three Steps" (2017) is an ordinary representative of this category.

Imagine how difficult it is for a teenager who, at the same time, thinks about everything, not only adjusting to the environment of peers, but also understanding the world of adults. Remember the time when you were a teenager yourself, how you would have handled a similar situation in which the main character finds herself.

Youth is a wonderful and at the same time a difficult period in anyone's life. At this time, you discover the world in a new way and make new acquaintances, try to understand yourself, choose the path of the future and do not live by the orders of your elders. At this time, true human relationships are also introduced. 13-year-old Mariam has to deal with all this in a very difficult environment. Her youth is different from her peers.

Who might this film be for, who is the target audience? For adults? For those who have a hard time coping with the transition age or for their parents who are trying to understand their children in their own way? First of all, the film is intended for those who will have to raise their children so that they are prepared for all the difficulties that they may encounter. After watching the film, you can reevaluate many carelessly spoken words or actions in relation to your children, look at relationships in a new way, although this film has no interest for teenagers. They will not learn anything from this, because the main characters’ inner world is not shown, on which the philosophy of an entire generation should be based.

The director raised some very important topics, such as: the relationship between father and child, the life of a teenager amidst social problems and her fears. There is not enough time to fully unfold all of this. In 19 minutes, the author could not fully show any topic, asked questions, told the story, but why he told it, what he wanted to say and what is the solution is not clear. You won't find anything innovative or even original in the topic disclosure. In the case of short films, it is more advantageous to take a specific topic and work around it. In this way, the message will reach the audience more easily.

By describing the environment of 13-year-old Mariam, the audience realizes from the beginning that everything is very bad with her, unattractive environment and lack of friends. She is eccentric, lonely and lost in reality. At the same time, she is impulsive and does not think before she does something. Her father is very strict with her, he is not like most other parents. The main character is forced to do as her father orders her: to work, to help with hard work...

Mariam's thoughts, motives, everything on which the work was supposed to be based, disappeared somewhere. Only the strange actions of the main character and those around her remained. It is not seen what she is going through, what she wants, why she is so lonely, all this is not shown in the film. Consequently, some episodes are also incomprehensible.

The film looks like the author is not familiar with the subject. The environment in which the story unfolds and the relationship with father should actually have been clues to Mariam's inner world. The atmosphere is first-rate, so that the audience understands exactly why this father and daughter are in such a situation, why they live in a booth, what is the reason for their being in this situation. It lacks the backstory and depth that would have made the film more cohesive. You want to know more about Mariam's past, her environment and relatives.

Image and sound are normal. There is nothing surprising about them, but it is not such that the audience will feel uncomfortable while watching the film. The music is almost unnoticeable. Events are moving so fast that it is hard to believe how so much can happen in such a short period of time. It is possible that the film depicts life in the suburbs of Tbilisi, although it is too exaggerated in some places and too sparse in others, so it is difficult to connect it with reality.

One of the issues the director tries to focus on is Mariam's fears that her father will betray and sell her for money. To indicate this, the director even shows us several episodes when the father suddenly gives Mariam money and tells her to cut her hair and tidy up, someone talks to an unknown man and points to Mariam, although nothing happens to prove all this. Moreover, it is shown so casually, it would remain unnoticed by the majority of viewers. One of the film's sub-themes died from the moment of conception.

The next issue is youth and related problems, however, in this case too, the idea is not fully developed. Even the author tries to show some fragments to find out what might be bothering a teenager of this age, but it all seems out of context because it has no beginning and end.

Social problems are presented in a similar way. People of different origins living in small booths near the garbage dump in the suburbs, trying to survive by all means: stealing, duplicating films on videocassettes, which are then sold for two lari, working as loaders, repairing broken equipment, etc. All men, women and children are involved in these activities. One can hear conversations in Georgian, Mingrelian, and foreign languages, but not a word is mentioned how these people got here.

The problem between the father and the teenage daughter is shown relatively better, so it would have been better to ignore other topics and devote the whole plot to the development of this line. Besides, there was a good ground for this, although you won't even notice that this is one of the main themes, because there are so many topics it gets mixed up, it's hard to tell what's important and what's secondary.

Like Mariam, the father's character is not deep, his attitude towards his daughter is not visible. Attempts to portray him as a tyrant failed. He is not too cruel. However, there are episodes where this was attempted. In it, you seem to be looking at two different people – one who goes to steal with his daughter and leaves her alone at the scene of the crime for fear of being caught. Then he forces her to work physically, he can hit for a childish mistake, but at the same time, we can see shots where he picks up broken pieces of dishes with his daughter, puts food on her plate with his own hands, gives money to tidy herself up and, most importantly, from his speech and appearance, in most cases, it feels like he loves his daughter, but he doesn't know how to express it. We cannot say this about Mariam, because it is not clear what kind of feeling she has towards her father – fear, love or veneration. The father's character also asks for a prehistory, how he came to this situation, why he raises his daughter alone, how he ended up being homeless. Questions arise, he might also have had a difficult childhood and that's why he can't show warmth and is aggressive towards his only daughter. These questions need answers that will help us understand why this film was made and what we can learn from it.

Dialogues are uninspiring, every word uttered by every character sounds artificial. There is a lot of profanity that can even be heard as background noise whether the context calls for it or not.

The ending is somewhat vague and less dynamic than the rest of the film's plot. Although it carries the protagonist's attempt at self-expression, the scene is less serious and significantly spoils the impression of the entire film, not focusing the viewer's attention on the problem.

In each film, it is possible to find at least one bright spot, and it would be unfair to underestimate it. On its own, this film needs some refining, but it managed to leave some questions worth pondering and debating, telling a story that might even be very native to some.

Teona Vekua

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