დროთა და ყველა სხვა კავშირი დაირღვა, თუმცა მათი შეკვრა მას არ არგუნა წყეულმა ბედმა. „ჟანრის კანონებიც“ დარღვეულია და ამბავიც სხვა სქემაში ექცევა. დაირღვა არა მხოლოდ ყველა კავშირი, არამედ მოჩვენებითი მყარი ნიადაგიც მოირყა, ყველაფერი მოიცელა; ქვეყანაში, რომელიც თავისუფლებასა და ნათელ მომავალზე ოცნებობდა, ნელ-ნელა სიკვდილის სურნელი დატრიალდა. XX საუკუნის ბოლოს, საბრძოლო ნაღმებთან ერთად არა ერთი სხვა – დიდი და პატარა, მნიშვნელოვანი და უმნიშვნელო, საბედისწერო და საიმედო, მათ შორის, სახელოვნებო –აფეთქებაც მოხდა. ადამიანებს დიდი განსაცდელისა და გამოცდის ჟამი დაუდგათ. ბევრის ბევრი ოცნებაც მტვრად და ქვიშად იქცა. ბევრი თვითონ იქცა მტვრად და ქვიშად.
The generation of the 1990s (both the next and after the next) is called the "lost generation." A generation whose personal fate and historical reality in itself determine the rules and laws of existence, their existence, marginalization and social situation, extreme hardship and spiritual crisis.
Keko (Ekaterine) Chelidze's documentary film "Holidays of Dead Souls" (2020), written by her and Kote Kalandadze, is about a musician and has a real hero – a successful, creatively active person in the past, one of the leaders of Georgian musical life in the 1990s and, one might say, one of the symbols of the new rebel generation – rock musician, bassist Levan Svanidze. The music of the film is written and performed by him and Gia Toidze, the leader of the group "Amoral." Thus, music means quite a lot and is more important than just background, enhancing emotional accents or the power of live singing to create atmosphere and believability. Music becomes a general sign of the event and an expression of the essence, which acquires the quality of the substance of matter (and "Amoral" is a band in which Levan Svanidze played in his "previous" life and in whose concert he dreamed of participating in the present. However, like many others, this dream did not come true, or he did not/ could not fulfill).
"Holidays of Dead Souls" is about a musician from whose not-so-distant glory nothing intense and lively has survived, not only musical "frontmanship." Instead, it is replaced by the enjoyment of weightlessness achieved by having other acquisitions, other intangible treasures, moving to another space and state. And the question is, what is better, striving for freedom, dreaming about it, then being disappointed, lost in space and time, or already existing, achieved, gained inner freedom?
First of all, this might be the reason why Levan Svanidze was interesting and attractive to Keko Chelidze. The director, along with the film crew, invades this person’s life, not planning or proposing anything, she doesn't interfere in anything and observes the course of events from the inside. Based on the essence and the reason why she makes the film and narrates what load, what sense she gives.
Everything happens in the present – today, here, and in the course of a consistent, natural and logical development of events. Time has passed since the 1990s. Reality has changed. Levan Svanidze (like many other representatives of his generation) is no longer the same and as he once was. He took refuge in a one-room suburban apartment and leads a shared life with his mother, which seems to be the result of circumstances, but might be the musician’s personal choice. Bolted space, actual isolation from the outside world and internal confinement – is a reaction, a response to reality, not an attempt to escape from it but an already completed act – the result of the decision made and the way of life led in this direction.
It is there, in that small room, with the right-sized closets, in the enclosed space (whose scale, thanks to the angles and perspectives of the shooting points, deviates from reality and the true scale) that complete independence begins and reigns – freedom from forced duties, false relationships and pseudo-obligations. Levan Svanidze leaves these walls only from time to time and very rarely, as a proof that there is another life that has only a "supporting" function. And for whom he seldom offers willingly himself and his music.
For Levan Svanidze, time seems to be running out in the process of substituting reality and authenticity in this way. Reality is replaced by imaginary reality, only there one can feel good, relatively comfortable, peaceful, away from the surrounding chaos, in a society that is not (anymore) interested in Levan Svanidze and other people like him, in a similar category, fate or in general.
For mother and son, neither the society, nor the film crew, nor the cataclysms of life are insignificant and mean nothing, they have their own cataclysms, internal fluctuations and their existence is limited by these, their own categories and rules.
The director is interested in such a choice of person(s), such fate and life, way of life, existence and follows its flow, everyday life, every moment in that rather long and, in fact, continuous period of time, as long as the shooting of the film lasted.
Keko Chelidze looks at this world from cameraman Kote Kalandadze’s camera (who, at the same time, is the producer of the film, together with Elene Margvelashvili, the editor, together with Keko Chelidze and Elene Asatiani, and the sound editor – together with Nika Paniashvili). He "describes" the world of internal or material hardship and physical weakness, the life of people on the verge of existence. But not in the sense that the tradition "requires" and with which, it can be said, modern Georgian cinema is already sinning, with its endless repetition of social problems and non-different variations of continuous, monotonous themes.
With a non-one-sided vision of empirical reality and based on it, the director achieves the credibility of sharing the reality with the public, which is unfamiliar to him personally, but attractive. It turns that part of the society, which is worried about what is happening and which is otherwise indifferent and emotionless, maybe even aggressive, into an accomplice.
The feeling of loneliness, isolation and a pause dragged in time pervades the entire story, wherever the action should take place – in the streets of Tbilisi or in the hermits’ interior of "Senaki." However, in the closed circle, which Levan Svanidze neither thinks nor tries to break, everything seems to be calm. Depending on the system and coziness of confinement in time and space, the audience will feel physically the directorial decision, the structure of the film, the characters’ mood and the author’s attitude.
Because the main thing is something else and it depends on how you will look, why you will look and what you will see in the process of contemplation, what you will see or discover beyond the existing or in its epicenter. On the one hand, existence, by fixing all the characteristics and important-insignificant details, directly and from the inside, the reality seen-perceived through sharing, connection, on the other hand, and most importantly, invisibility, disappearance in this small space – defines and highlights Keko Chelidze's directing style and handwriting.
This place has its unique scent, visibility, colors, and glowing picture. All the variety of the world and choices also creates diversity, variety and attractiveness of the screen world. Especially when this open and non-depressing reality is, in fact, surrounded by four walls, reduced to a physical scale and not depressing.
Gloomy reality and the broken connection with it, hidden or expressed worries, sadness, some kind of redemption from the environment – acquires a real tone, is captured in the atmosphere created by the director and cameraman and becomes a whole, like a real reflection of someone or something in a mirror. And you realize that this life is not as monotonous and boring as we imagine. Many things may already be impossible or become a thing of the past, but the life of a mother and son is like this, and not the way others want them to live.
By being in these circumstances, by creating their own microcosm, they were able to achieve freedom, defy fate and replace the gloomy reality with their own reality. This is their drama and victory. Their establishment in this bleak and anxiety-inducing reality is by their own choice and decision.
Confrontation with reality, protest, opposition, which started in the 1990s, continues today. The next and after the next generations continue to fight, in which sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. Some will shake hands, but will not give up, some will adapt and "take advantage" of the amorphous coziness, some will create their own platform and establish their own rules.
Holidays, even "of Dead Souls" ("Holidays of Dead Souls" was the name of one of the bands created by Levan Svanidze and in which he once played), are associated with freedom, peace, rest. And if in the background of all this and surrounded by these personal or general human problems, which are always present in society, there can be something comforting or reassuring, it is that these people, son and mother – surrounded by four walls and looking at each other, still managed and achieved what they aspired to (and what all "abnormal" aspires to) – unconditional freedom. And they also proved that, as always, at all times and everywhere – even in the state of extreme despair and doom – the main force is love and hope, which always defeats despair and wins over existence.
Keko Chelidze and the film crew, guided by hope, freedom and love, go far beyond the closure of this world, preserve its uniqueness and un-repetitiveness and cover the film in a wide spectrum (like Kote Kalandadze when using extra wide lenses). Thanks to invisible and unspoken subtexts and internal currents, this "abnormal" world becomes fascinating, incredibly attractive and multifaceted. It is in such conditions and situations that it is possible to go against the frameworks, limitations and destiny and to bind the broken connection of time.
P.S. Finally, Levan Svanidze was freed from the only fear of his mother’s imminent loss. Soon after the shooting of the film, the ex-musician, hermit, free and bold and hopeful person passed away, and he passed on to his mother the burden of loneliness, which was exasperating and disturbing him, It is true that life cannot defeat death. But, death liberates too.