What can a person do during the pandemic, under strict restrictions? Least likely he can make a film. Giorgi Gogichaishvili's short film "10:45" (2021) was made by the creative team of the Sibler Film company during the pandemic. Moreover, it can be said that the pandemic became a motivator, an inspiration and a determinant of the place of action.

This work is a product of a time when billions of people were locked down in some tens of square meters and cut off from the world. Its action takes place in one room too, with the participation of one heroine. One character and a confined space make the task difficult for the actress (Mariam Kvitaishvili) and pose risks for the film’s authors that the monotony and the plot based only on a dialogue may slow down the interest of the audience. The author’s task was also complicated by the previous experience and increased responsibility. The earlier film of the same company, "8 Minutes" had a very successful festival life. It won prizes at international film festivals. This success raised expectations and stakes for each subsequent film project of the mentioned film company.

The movie "10:45" overcame all challenges with dignity and won the hearts of the audience. However, nothing special happens for 11 minutes of the 13-minute film. A young woman is talking to a friend on the phone. The whole story is built on two persons’ dialogue. Only one actress is visible on the screen, and the voice of the other is heard behind the shot. Many things are known through their conversation. The audience learns about the heroine‘s character, that she does not like to be alone, although she is very curious and the desire to know the world is killing her, that she lives in a poor country and she will have to sell almost everything to go on a trip, that she is not afraid of the difficulties and challenges that may happen on the way. The audience realizes the heroine’s desire to taste everything that life has to offer. From the same dialogue the viewer learns about her loved one who is not liked much by her friend. However, they can understand each other’s hints without a problem and so on.

This exchange of information takes place at the background of the main character ‘s hiccups which can’t be stopped by anything and gives a little comical touch to both the story and the character, although it also has an important place in the plot. The real time almost matches the screen time. The audience is listening and watching the same person. The topics of the characters’ conversation are everyday issues, although some tension is still created. The music fulfills this function. It comes later in the film and creates a sort of anticipation that something is about to happen.

In principle, "something has to happen" in any film but this "something" has to be special here. The authors of the film talked about this during the shooting process and they pointed out that the finale of the film in this project is decisive and the center of gravity of the story falls on it, so they did not disclose the finale.

Accordingly, each subsequent episode of the film is dedicated to the preparation for the finale. All the things to say seem to gather there. It is the place of "Golden Intersection." Around the tenth minute, the comic dialogue acquires a dramatic tension. In this orderly, happy and hopeful reality, bad news hits the main character like a thunder. A friend tells her that her test results are bad and that she too will have to go on a long trip. But alone, without the prospect of going back. Both the heroine and the audience experience an emotional shock.

However, the authors do not stop here and make another sharp dramatic move and change the reality again. It turns out that our worries are in vain, the heroine is not ill at all. She made up this lie to help her friend stop hiccups (according to legend, hiccups can be cured with telling lies. In this case, it worked).

The authors "mistreated" the audience and created wrong expectations. In reality, everything is fine, the sun is still shining, the world is still in order, the plans are still valid. Was this the promised finale? As it turned out, no.

The world is much more complex and dramatic than two, three, or even 8 billion people imagine. The authors of the film know this, and they announce this difficulty in the actual finale of the film - the main character, who renewed the dialogue and put the world in order, suddenly explodes for everyone. Shock again, amazement again. Everyone thinks it's an accident, but the last shot takes the audience to another point altogether, which no one expected and no one imagined.

The case is much more tragic. The caption on the last shot says that the action of the film takes place in the town of Gori (Georgia), on August 9, 2008, when at 10:45 Russian aviation bombed the town. Therefore, it is clear that this film is not about love, hopes or travel, illness or accident, but about war.

The short story of "10:45" reveals all the horrors of war and injustice in just a few seconds of episodes. War, after some time, for the viewer from afar, turns into statistics, numbers that he gets used to listening to. The authors, on the other hand, create a picture of who is behind the statistics of war victims - this is a real person, with life, hopes, plans and her own microcosm, which she built herself. And this person represents a specific nation, with specific tragedies and specific enemies.

The pain caused by the Russian occupation is revived in the film. The specific becomes general. The tragedy of one nation in some part of history already turns into a world tragedy, a tragedy that does not remain an artistic metaphor in the film, but also transfers into a bitter reality of everyday life.

Eka Kukhalashvili

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