Memories never leave people. They are only forgotten for a short while and then suddenly resurface. These fragments of the past are sometimes a punishment, sometimes a gift – they contain what the mind wants to remember and what part of life has been forgotten. They don't have time and space. The story that happened in the past moves the conscious into the unconscious and stores its abbreviated, relatively distorted information there. This is why touching or feeling something can remind a person of old times. It is important for a person to learn to live in the present. People who are always stuck in the past can't reach the peak, they stick to the same place, they can't develop, they can't continue their life. They don't know what happiness is, they stand and only dwell on past mistakes or cherish old, sweet memories. Most often, they return to their childhood, remember their first love, and then compare them with those they meet throughout their life, look for similarities in others and hope to find someone like them. Or everything happens the other way around – they don't continue their life, they don't look for others like them, they create a circle and stop at the point where they started.

People put on different masks, play roles and live like that, trying to make a sad face happy and make themselves and then to others to believe that they are happy. They will turn the heart into a mechanical being. Emptiness in people's lives arises from the forgotten past, the word "forgetting" does not exist. They don’t forget memories; they are only allowed to be forgotten.

In Tamar Shavgulidze's film "Comets" (2019), Irina and Nana recall old memories. The past is an important attribute of their lives. They are grown up now. Thirty years have passed since the last meeting, nevertheless, they could not forget each other. Time and borders could not diminish the old emotions. I wonder what they missed more, each other or their childhood? What were they like before and what are they like now? Both chose different ways of life. Irina went to live in Krakow, then traveled half of Europe and returned to Georgia. If we believe the laws of physics, Irina has not gone anywhere. She may have traveled a long way, a lot of distance from Nana but her displacement is zero. She was by Nana's side for at least thirty years and lived with her, experienced all the pains and joys with her without even knowing it. They did not talk about each other's feelings and parted like that. One remained in Georgia, the other continued to live in Poland. It was because of the silence that they left many questions to each other. The uncertain situation did not allow any of them to forget the situation and move on with their lives. The question is, which one was happier during this time? Probably none. Nana in the hospital remembered only Irina's name. and what was this? An expression of love? Longing? No, only nostalgia for the past.

It seems that no time has passed, nothing has happened in their lives. They are still there, in the same place, at the same table, facing each other, talking about childhood. Only the years have become noticeable on both of them. Their eyes are different, they don't blink anymore, they don't look into each other's eyes anymore. They sit facing each other and are poking into their own minds.

Nana and Irina's childhood seemed to be stuck in time and space. Along with their lives, they lost their perception of reality. It was as if they both created a simulation of reality and lived there, not in Georgia or Poland. In general, all the components of the modern world are not reality, but a simulation of reality, where it is so strong that the simulation itself becomes the only reality. According to a French philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s theory, it is easy to understand that all is not as it seems. People only see the version of the world that they want to see. They are terribly selfish. They return to each other's lives only to find out how the other is doing. Irina did not care how Nana was. She just wanted to know if she was happy or not. Like it or not, they ruined each other's lives. Both are at war with themselves. They are not entirely sure who they are, what their life is like, and whether they deserve what they have. They don't live, they just exist and time passes. I wonder why Irina left the taxi outside, why she let it go and then called someone else to go to the airport. Perhaps she left an escape route, was afraid of her own emotions, of talking to Nana, and by doing so, left the door open to her escape.

The beginning of the film is unclear. The shots move like photographs, and the impression is that they were cut out of a photo collage and simply pasted into a film. Long, static shots take your breath away. As if they last for a century and have no end. The narration is extended – the story, which was only fifteen to twenty minutes long, was prolonged to an hour and seven minutes. At the expense of slow-motion shots, the duration of the film has increased. The dialogue that started in the opening episode could never have ended if not for the initiative of Nana's daughter, Irina to go to the shop. During the mother-daughter conversation, each word about love hit Nana like an arrow in her heart. It seemed that Irina was talking about her and not about herself.

The rapid alteration of the present and the past makes the film relatively confusing and difficult for inexperienced viewers to understand. The plot is too simple and seemingly banal. Two people who have been separated for a long time meet after years and remember the past. What is valuable about it? They simply regret the mistakes they made and at the moment of meeting they look for the culprit in each other.

The ending of the film is torn out of context and gives the impression that it was made to start a standalone film or some other part. The title has almost nothing to do with the film, the credits only appear in one phrase at the beginning and a few seconds at the end. That is why the rest of the parts are separate. The title "In the Sea of Memories" or "Distance from Poland to Georgia" would have been more suitable for the film.

Barbare Kalaijishvili


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