No one can ignore the inevitable changes lurking on the bridge from childhood to adulthood. An invisible alienation to childhood friends appears one day and people weighed down by the pressure of adulthood, trying to find themselves under the ever-watchful eye of society, will have to look out for it. The bridge between the two shores slowly breaks down and the young people standing on it are burdened by multifaceted thoughts – nostalgia for the past, fear of the future, and adapting with the idea that preparing for the changes in the present is the only way to save the bridge.
Nia Zhvania's short student film, “Rewinding” (2023) shows the presence of characters burdened by these large-scale topics. Data, Tekla and Tazo are childhood friends who have stepped into the chaos of adulthood. Each of them is trying to cope with the new reality in their own way. The audience looks at the situation through Data’s eyes and Data is the character whose internal struggle to adapt to the sudden changes, including the unintentional distance between friends, is the most obvious, so the author evokes emotion in the audience through this character. The inner struggle is crowned by the last act of the film, with which the director says that no matter how much willpower is required, sometimes it is necessary to get out of the comfort zone in order to find oneself because only a person clinging to the nostalgia of the past cannot open the door to the future and, stuck between two times, will always remain a spectator of how others continue to live. This is the reason why "rewinding" the shots and living in them is not worth it. Relationships change, people change, and we all do so, but it's not the end of the world.
The dramaturgy of the film is well constructed. The message is clearly conveyed, but there is a feeling at times as if the magnitude of the message and the integration of various, although related, problems are lost due to the lack of time. The author has a lot to say and combining everything in one small film without losing focus is very difficult. Nevertheless, the visual language is chosen so well that the viewer still manages to grasp the superficial display of topics and connect them to the story before it gets out of hand. If it weren't for these "inserted" shots, it would be almost impossible to get to know the characters, because the main action takes place in one spot and the dialogue is not strong enough to convey the necessary information about each character and, most importantly, bring it naturally to the audience. Although these shots set the style of the film and contributed greatly to the development of the narrative, their use might have been overused at times, as sometimes it is necessary for the director to trust the imagination of the audience and not show everything on the screen. For example, the action shots were not necessary at all because the information reached the audience in the form of dialogue. Presumably, with these shots, the film is trying to emphasize the style and create a comic effect but in any case, it would have been better to remove them.
The characters, images in the film, their different characters and relationships attracted me the most. At first it's a bit unclear who they are to each other, friends or siblings as the footage of their childhood shown at the beginning is more indicative of the latter but gradually the audience realizes that they are childhood friends. This completely changes the story because if the characters were cousins, the narrative would have gone in a completely different direction. Data’s character reaches the audience particularly well, which is probably how it should be – he is the main character and is at the center of the narrative. The author well conveys his worries and motivation, that little spark that finally pushes him to act – "I have to do something too, don’t I? I do nothing. And you always do something." Most viewers will be able to easily see themselves in this young, lost boy, for which both the author and the actor deserve praise.
The director makes good use of the non-linear narrative and makes the story more intense through the contrast shown in the editing. The so-called "Flashbacks" are used sparingly and tastefully. Especially at the end, when Data offers his friends to spend the night with him but they refuse because of lack of time. The director shows these three people’s childhood – how they sleep together tired after Data's birthday party. Seeing such a stark contrast will affect those who have lost closeness to their friends due to the passage of time or other unavoidable circumstances. The emotion is strengthened by the fact that the film ends with this "flashback."
The main problem of the film is the dialogues and sometimes their unnaturalness. When most of the action takes place in one space, without any movement or in-shot montage, the entire load falls on the dialogues and dynamics of the actors, which is difficult to control and insert into the overall rhythm of the film, especially for novice directors and actors. In some sections, there is an excessive attempt at naturalness, which gives a completely opposite effect. Even the young actors, despite the fact that they fit the roles well and bring their characters to the audience, seem to lose touch with their characters at such moments.
This problem is best manifested in the climax of the film. Tekla and Tazo find Data's passport and discover that he is planning to go abroad. After talking with him, they also learn that this is not a simple journey for Data but a new phase of his life, which he is starting away from his homeland and friends. Actually, it should be a dramatic moment, much more dramatic than in the movie. In addition to the fact that the friends are now in danger of being separated not only spiritually, but also physically, this scene is also important for the audience to get to know Data's character better, to see his attempt to adapt to the changes, and maybe even feel a little sad, because, although facing the reality and starting to act is promising, there is something sad, even in Data's phrase – "Nobody will let me play there, but..." The climax combines saying goodbye to friends, dreams, childhood, greeting adulthood, the need to "do something," wrestling with newness, the beginning, which is always very difficult, especially at Data's age, so it would be better if the moment felt more intense that it was a climax. The problem here might be the dialogue and the friends’ unnatural reaction, although it is also worth noting that, despite all this, the director's intention is still visible and the emotion, one way or another, reaches the audience.
Although there are flaws in the film, the director manages to convey not only the message to the audience but the emotion too. A cleverly chosen visual style, interesting characters and a situation in which, everyone might have been discovered at least once, cover the mistakes that the novice director can correct. The fact that it leaves the audience with certain questions is also a positive aspect of the film: is Data's departure the end of their friendship? Is it worth giving up on a childhood dream just because of the obligation to "do something?" Did the responsibilities and obligations that come with adulthood drive Data or the desire to find one's own path? These and similar questions arise not because Data's story is special or told in a special way but because it is not special at all – the bridge from childhood to adulthood is the only one that we all cross. The young director was able to capture exactly this common point and bring it to the audience.