Gambling makes a person lose himself. It follows him like a ghost and doesn't let him breathe. It's like a drug, once you taste it and get used to it, it's impossible to get rid of it.
Levan Koguashvili's film, "Brighton 4 th" (2021) is like a fight for survival. Each character is on the ring facing life and its difficulties, fighting and trying to survive. In some cases he wins, but more often he loses. It is difficult to say who the main character of the movie is. They are intertwined and move in the same way, they suffer the same pain, rejoice and fail. It's hard to tell what the main story line is: relationships, gambling, immigration or something else. The director moves quickly from one topic to another and everything is intertwisted.
The movie starts with the story of Kakhi's brother. He gambled and lost the money his wife had sent to renovate the apartment. This is where one of the conflicts begins. The man who already lives at his wife’s expense and does not work (at least it seems so in the story) gambles and loses his home. Kakhi's brother remains homeless and does not know where to spend the night. He asks Kakhi to help him. Actually, Kakhi himself is facing a dilemma – he does not know whether to go to America with his son or stay and take care of his wife who has broken her hand. He goes to America. There he will not find the situation he expected. His son, Soso, also plays and has quite a lot of debts. Kakhi is disappointed but does not utter a word. Silence is a problem that creates other difficulties. He does not scold his son. Moreover, he never scolds anyone.
It seems that the gambling problem exists not only in Georgia, but also in the distant America, to which everyone is striving.
After leaving Tbilisi, Kakhi becomes an immigrant and this is the second topic that the director tries to talk about. He portrays immigrants and their problems not only in this film. In 2008, his documentary film "Women from Georgia" was dedicated to exactly this topic. It depicts all the obstacles that women face during their stay in emigration: alienation, loneliness, struggle for survival and many more. It seems as if the director has been working on one topic for several years and can't go beyond this story. Kakhi tries to save everyone, to be everyone's rescuer, but in the end he sacrifices everything himself. He becomes a way to get rid of his child's problems. Now others will continue life without him.
Kakhi tries to save everyone, to be everyone's rescuer, but in the end he sacrifices everything himself. He becomes a way to get rid of his child's problems. Now others will continue life without him.
Family relations, and not only, is the third topic that the director is struggling with and here even the audience gets confused. He doesn't know which topic to focus on. Which one to think about, to share a man's pain or to think about the harm gambling brings. It seems that all three problems intersect: a man lives at the expense of his wife and gambles. Other members of the family know all this but still defend him.
Each character is a typical radical. Either everything exists for them or nothing. They don't have an intermediate state, they can't keep the balance and they even sacrifice their lives.
What would have happened if the son had not played and studied well or if he had stayed with his wife and beloved dog, even if none of them went to America, both of them would live happily in the central district of Tbilisi? Or what would the story be like if Kakhi didn't agree to struggle and came up with another solution to save the boy? He might have known how everything would end and that his health was no longer good but he still took the risk.
Soso does nothing to escape gambling. Moreover, he justifies himself. He says that he needs money and that he earns nothing. Why didn't he stop when he lost the first time and why did his debt go up to fourteen thousand dollars? There was no willpower. He thought that if he lost once, he would definitely win the second time. In the end, he lost so many times that it all became a black spot in his life. Now he is no longer in debt, thanks to Kakhi, but he no longer has a father either. He returns to his native country alone. I wonder what answer he will give to his mother dressed in black? Will he be able to continue his life as if nothing happened? When he needs to stand by an older one and he feels lonely, who will he turn to? Father is no longer alive – maybe to his uncle. They might continue to gamble together now and end up losing their own lives.
It's a pity that Kakhi's brother is only seen at the beginning of the film and then no more. The director has lost the character because of which he probably decided to shoot the story. It is not known to the audience how this person continued his life. It is also not clear whether that Kazakh returned the debt to the Georgian women or not. Levan Koguashvili throws together several topics in the film and explores only a few of them and he cannot completely unfold them. He starts talking and stops talking somewhere in the middle. That is why sympathy is only felt for Kakhi and other characters are simply mechanical creatures controlled with a hand.
In the end, the question is, whether life in America is as dreamy as it seems from afar. The answer is simple, no. Actually, the place where people do not live and only look at it from the distance seems like a heaven to them.