In 2006, the film director Ilo Ghlonti presented the audience a short film "Five Variations" which was a great success. Shot with a subjective camera, this work tells one family’s adventures as seen by five characters. It is true that during the existence of cinema, many films have been created on this principle, including great directors. For example, the Japanese Akira Kurosawa's film “Rashomon” (1950) was the first to appeal to a new vision (a story seen differently by several people, thus subverting established film dramaturgy). As far as is known, there was no similar precedent in Georgian cinema.
This time, together with the writers Archil Kikodze and Levan Ghlonti, the director again wrote the script for another, absurd and, at the same time, tragicomic story based on a real fact, developed in the unordinary family, and brought the full-length feature film "Why Are We Together" (2022) to the audience.
The main character, Gio, a young man in the process of self-establishment and identity search, is a member of a large family, which unites representatives of three generations. The film highlights the century - old conflict between fathers and sons - between a war-ravaged father and an unemployed son, between an indifferent uncle who constantly rides a bicycle and a nephew. The only member of the family, the grandmother, tries to protect and restore the disturbed balance of equilibrium, especially to sympathize with her beloved grandson. She worries that her family members do not ask her anything and leave her questions unanswered. "Why doesn't anyone answer me? Where are you going or for what?" she asks her grandson. "Because they don't know where they are going," the young man answers. In this response, the dysfunctional, inert lifestyle of the entire family is revealed. In the meantime, the rhythm of their slow living is invaded like a whirlwind by the accusation of an unknown crime, the robbery of a woman stuck in the elevator in their own communal hallway and blaming it on Gio, who has just left the flat. For some reason, this unjust accusation is believed by the father, who, as can be seen from the dialogues, should have been fair and chivalrous in the past, but now, due to lack of money, unemployment and uselessness, is so subordinate to depression that he even doubts his own son's innocence, which causes the latter to be very angry and addresses his father with a rebuke and mock - "mother would not have believed this" (mother died a few years ago). Despite his weakness, the father still manages to resist the policemen who unceremoniously invade his house, which ends with his arrest. The most memorable in this episode is the grandmother’s, an intelligent woman’s hidden anger towards the police. She scolds so calmly and imperturbably the masked, armed "RoboCops" who burst into her flat like bandits that they leave with their heads down (which is a bit unbelievable).
The rhythm of the film changes this time. The process of getting the unjustly detained father out of prison begins in an accelerated manner. The poor family's only source of income, the rental property is sacrificed for his release from prison. Instead of initial alienation, the heroes of the film become irreplaceable and dear to each other in the finale. Released father and son return home and spend the whole night peacefully talking about their pressing issues against the background of the twinkling night city lights from the kitchen window.
The image of the film (director of photography Mindia Esadze) is limited to a plain and simple composition, which clearly shows the style and character of the urban life of the zero years period. The dim, poorly lit space, the unhurried rhythm of events emphasize the clear expression of the characters' vague, concrete faces in the existing reality. The emotionally disturbing shots are intensified by the powerful musical compositions performed by Rezo Kiknadze's saxophone, the thematic sound of which unites and seems to bind the events developed in the film.
The characters portrayed by the cast are so natural and impressive that they are deeply fixed in the memory of the audience. Most importantly, almost all the actors are non-professional, amateur actors and, perhaps, perform their duties much more convincingly, without any artificiality. Marina Kubaneishvili, who plays the grandmother’s role, stands out for her directness and naturalness. Her attitude towards each member of the family, her restrained and calmly expressed wise thoughts are expressive of such deep emotion that even if the slightest falsity or artificiality were felt in her, the role she portrayed would not deserve proper approval. At the 22nd Tbilisi International Film Festival, unexpectedly for everyone, she was announced as the best performer of a female role, and on that day she turned 90 years old. Perhaps, this prize was the most precious anniversary gift.
The happy ending of the film raises many questions. For example, why are people of different ages, different thoughts and understandings together? Everyone will probably have their own individual answer to this question, but for the director, the fact that it is built on family values as the driving force of this movie points to only one true feeling - love, which helps a person to overcome any obstacle and achieve the set goal.