Creating films about war started from the very origins of cinema. Different generations of filmmakers have brought to the screen the devastating consequences of senseless bloodshed to remind us that there are no winners in war. The topic of war is already shown from all sides, both inside and outside, but all wars end sooner or later and the question inevitably arises, what happens next? Sure, a peaceful life but what would it look like? What will the winners be like? How will losers’ fate continue? After all, they both want to live. In any case, life must be restored and continue. Rusudan Glurjidze touched on this particular topic in the film "House of Others" (2016). This work tells the post-war situation, the story of two families for whom the war continues in everyday life. For the audience, the adventures of each character are close and familiar and in many it leaves a feeling of fear.
The topic raised here is very serious and shows the tragedy not only of Abkhazia but of the entire humanity: civil war, people who fled their homes, who did not manage to take their personal belongings, families sheltered in other people's homes and their psychological condition.
On a stormy night, a young man, along with his wife and two young children, moves to an almost deserted quiet village, which turns out not to be as peaceful as they have hoped and believed. Neighbors: the sisters and a teenage girl, the daughter of one of the sisters, watch the newcomers from the binoculars.
There are no war scenes in the film but the characters’ emotions are not a single step away from it. War, one of the most terrifying events that can happen in a person's life, can change a person forever. It destroys human values built on the principles of love and kindness, destroys families, turns parents and children, brothers and sisters into enemies, people become selfish, try to survive at any cost, as a result of which society slowly turns into an animal. While a person goes through this experience, his attitude towards the world changes. Some people save everything whatever they can (for example, Salome Demuria's heroine Ira), while others are so weak that they are not able to find out about themselves and start a new life, which the director shows through Zurab Maghalashvili's character, Astamur.
On screen, Salome Demuria depicted the image of a strong, intelligent and slightly arrogant woman with a difficult fate. She is kind but not to everyone, cruel to those who really deserve it, she wields weapons freely and uses whatever power she can to save her neighbors' homes in the hope that someday their owners will return to their dwellings. Ira's sister Azida (Ia Sukhitashvili) is a woman in despair, who was abandoned by her husband and is raising a teenage girl alone, she does not know how to behave with her child, constantly argues with her sister about any issue. She is a psychologically devastated person who has lost not only her home but also her spouse and the respect of her family members. Although Ira constantly criticizes her sister and niece, she is always by their side in a difficult situation, which gives all three the strength to survive.
Astamur is changing before our eyes. We can see a man who suddenly has a huge palette of emotions when he finally finds a new home. Changes in his inner world lead to changes in the world around him. There is a sense of war, destruction and death, even a cozy house turns into a cold shelter. All this makes a significant impression on the audience. Zurab Maghalashvili managed to show a complex personality, a person confused in search of the truth, who feels a lot of possible guilt for living in someone else's house. Astamur's wife is not Georgian, therefore, this conflict is not really hers. She easily adapts to the new environment and only worries about the luxury items left in the old house.
An important topic is war-affected children who are in constant fear and uncertainty. All three are of different ages and have different experiences. Nata (Ekaterine Japaridze) gets entertained by breaking into other people's houses and taking things from there. Leo (Aleksandre Khundadze) is scared and constantly worries not to lose his new house too. He gets up at night to check whether the door is locked or not. His little sister is just tired. She has not realized what they lost, her beloved family is by her side and the new home is a new adventure. With the help of the main characters, you observe a sea of emotions - pain, worry, sympathy, despair, hope and hopelessness. It is impossible not to believe in these emotions and not be imbued with sympathy for these characters.
Almost all of us have a home that is our own fortress and support in difficult moments of life. Every person should have a place for personal seclusion, which will protect them from life's troubles and problems but for the film heroes, personal space becomes a great luxury. War deprives them of their own belongings and forces them to live in someone else's house, which was previously owned by someone else. Such houses of people are filled with the aura of the previous owner, each thing seems to have their trace, they are silently waiting for the return of the real owner. Each house, with its outdated facade and broken windows, wearily but stubbornly oppose the new owners.
Cinema is primarily a visual expression with its inclusion of color, light, camera movement and views. With the help of all this, the director should be able to evoke certain emotions in the audience and lead to the result he wants to achieve, even without dialogues. With its setting, "Someone Else's House" is one of those rare films in which the atmosphere, environment and visuals play a much bigger role than the story. The mysterious landscape of the countryside is complemented by constantly gloomy cloudy skies, cold rainy days and old houses on the verge of collapse, which add even more intrigue to the film.
A coherent story does not allow the viewer to be distracted even for a second. During important moments, the camera constantly pulls back, and the work is very beautiful with long shots and the cameraman’s skillfulness. Each shot is like an animated painting hanging in a museum. During the course of the film, you feel the urge to pause this or that episode and enjoy the beauty displayed on the screen.
This film is not a show of people living in someone else's house, but an introduction to people mentally destroyed in a senseless war and an analysis of the fact that there are no winners in war. The film was able to present an important topic to the society from a different angle with sophisticated visual images and deliberated dialogues. It's true that you don't shed tears while watching it, as it is often the case with films with a similar topic but it makes you think and its story stays in your mind for a long time.