If the tradition of Georgian cinema repeats itself thematically and develops artistic-thematic interpretations interestingly, then this refers to the versions of man's search for himself most clearly and obviously; dysfunctionality, or adaptation and spiritual crisis that originate in the themes interpreted by the 1960s continue for decades. They find various manifestations - in the Georgian cinema of the 1980s-1990s, 2000s and of the most recent period.
As difficult as it is to avoid any rhetoric on this topic, modern ways of identifying the most complex character traits and "citations" look so different. In Georgian cinema, the entire spectrum of readings generated by the film “There was a Singing Blackbird,” the motifs of the futility of existence, charming dysfunctionality and even dull monotony, find an echo every decade. It seems that this theme for cinema - the motif of characters caught in the non-existent, illusory dynamics of existence - is always based on small, but still different opinions.
Nino Zhvania's film "Parade" (2019) is a mixture of kaleidoscopic illusions and existential nakedness. The main sign of the author's position is found in this: all three heroes of the film remind us of the disillusioned characters of the Western European literary heritage, of the post-World War II generation, immersed in the chaos of a familiar existence, surrounded by an unknown fog and misunderstanding.
Just like Erich Maria Remarque's characters, Nino Zhvania's heroes can't give up and can't feel the passing of time - it's possible that they got used to this vanity at a much earlier age than literary characters did.
Guga Kotetishvili, Archil Kikodze and Goga Pipinashvili - a less fortunate actor, a unsuccessful artist and a criminal just released from prison. This inheritance of social levels lives in them like a mirage - through narration, fragmentary phrases, or we can see the illusory and real face of their life - exhausted from the inside and strangely depressed, funny and even carefree, as strange as it may seem to us.
The director’s desire to make full and realistic signs of artistic generalization of each of them is clear and understandable, although the most important of these three characters is that none of them cause any feeling of misunderstanding, ridicule or irritation.
An incomprehensible, metaphorical parade with a process going deep into the cold landscape is as abstract an event as the traveling circus is to twentieth-century society. It is a colourful process and an acrobat on stilts, in a cold urban autumn, or early winter, is an interesting sight as a cold contrast to the illusions that once existed in the generation. The changing rhythm of the lush, open landscapes silently echoes the slang and dreams of childhood friends' conditional journey "from nowhere to nowhere." In a landscape filled with ruins, prostitutes, dried-up riverbeds and the coldness of winter or post-winter nature, the director and his characters look more like lost, disoriented, runaways from an endless parade of teenagers rather than adults.
The disillusioned catharsis of the post-World War II generation and the portrait of the generation created on the screen, with its warm, slightly harsh nudity, are indeed similar, although Nino Zhvania's film was made in 2019 and the post-war reality of the 1940s and 1950s still implied illusions that spiritual emptiness is the result of war and only war.
Archil Kikodze's character is probably more abstracted than Guga Koteteishvili's actor or Goga Pipinashvili's criminal, who is still most clearly the bearer of the reality that they, the lost inherited. The extent of abstraction is also clear, however, in the episodes of mutual disputes with prostitutes and young criminals, it becomes particularly sharp as well as difficult to recognize what is being said and the mood, since it is not easy to put together human feelings and images of the past in this contrasting environment. A forced asylum in the depths of a dilapidated, old building, together with prostitutes, is dangerous and terrifying with its simple, ruthless "iron" poetic charm: an actor reads a scabrous poem in a poorly lit interior, an artist instills in the prostitute the belief that there is a beautiful woman in front of him, and the criminal, for the most part, is respectfully silent. Even in the most realistic pieces of prose, it is difficult to find a merciless metaphor for such an end to the illusions of one part of a generation, which, on the other hand, will be tinged with human feeling.
In contrast to the actual parade, these landscapes carry a sense of constant hopelessness, just like the three heroes, wrapped in a gloomy, foggy morning, hopelessly abandoned. Perhaps none of them need any big, bright future, which is not only an illusion, it may even sound like a comical concept to them.
The characters of Guga Kotetishvili and Archil Kikodze, while narrating their own adventures, break the rhythm of this sad and abandoned mood, which affects the complete perception of this strange harmony. It is possible to attribute this to an excessive amount of static - for example, an episode in a restaurant or a very large role within the verbal material, where this feeling, unfortunately, causes a feeling of sharp dissonance. And not because the episode in the restaurant is almost static, but because in this immobility, the expression of sadness characteristic of the heroes is almost lost. Probably, again and again, because of the accents shifted to the word. Such accents do not appear only in this episode. It is noticeably palpable in the opening episodes of the film as well.
The actor dies, disappears, leaves. He goes as unnoticed as he probably lived until now in this strange world, until his symbolic turn in the vanguard of the parade. It is possible that this motif unites him with the literary and film heroes of the twentieth century, whose existence on earth was tragically overlooked due to their own personal inaction or dysfunctionality.
The end of this journey is also sad: Guga Kotetishvili's actor, a cheerful man full of moral barriers but with compromising behaviour, who seems to have the burden of several generations of traits, simply left the parade, entered the stables of the hippodrome staggering, coughing, and there, in few steps, fell... disappeared. So far, no one has noticed his absence, not even his friends who sat there for a rest.
The landscape in Nino Zhvania's film is cold and sad. This road is incredibly long and associatively interesting, a journey to nowhere, between childhood and a bonfire lit in ruins, where no one expects anything anymore. Not only real dreams but even illusions are lost among such meaningless parades and voices in the cold air.