Cinema plays an important role in social development and formation of public opinion. The movies that talk about social problems can draw attention to them and help solve them. In addition, they are able to influence the cultural values of society and inspire people to exhibit high morals.
Gigisha (Grigol) Abashidze's debut film, "Neighbors" (2018) depicts the daily life of poor and middle-class people in Tbilisi's "Italian Yard." In this way, it is very similar to the examples of neorealism because the goal of the mentioned popular movement was to depict the real world, to present reality without beautification and unnecessary effects; the creators of "Neighbors" did not follow this line to the end, did not clearly demonstrate reality.
The action in the film begins with showing neighbors who are kind to each other. Gia (Tornike Gogrichiani) is helping the women neighbors, Levan (Dato Roinishvili) is playing with the children and some neighbors are playing a game of domino, at which time another neighbor, Nana (Eka Mzhavanadze), comes into the yard with good news. It turns out that the investor offers them all a good amount of money for the house after a long wait. Who would have thought that the introduction of an investor would lead to a real war between the neighbors. Negotiations on this matter will gradually turn into a scandal, and dissatisfaction will steadily intensify towards Gia, who does not agree to sell the apartment for the offered amount, because, unlike the others, it has been newly renovated. Neighbors use any means to persuade him - they steal the car seat, curse, beat and play other dirty tricks.
The director made a film with an understandable plot and a clear conflict, where the audience does not have to take sides because both of them raise many questions and this has its own charm. You just have to sit and watch the action as it slowly moves from one genre component to another and then completely turns into a tragedy. This work is on the border of genres, which is both tragicomedy and drama at the same time.
The topics raised in it are familiar to almost everyone - conflicts with neighbors, problems with spouse, child, friend. But in order to interest the audience, the film needs the main character(s), whom the audience sympathizes with, and the director wants to introduce neighbors in their role, although the argument is so weak that Gia evokes sympathy more than others. The characters' nature and their stories are shown superficially. The only thing that can be seen about them is that the only solution for their better life is the introduction of an investor, although the film does not answer why they do not work and are dependent on others. Therefore, you sympathize more with Gia, who has a job, owns a car and cares about the future. As the story progresses, the director tries to create more and more antipathy towards him when he does not agree to sell the apartment. Anyway, this is where the problems start for the house - that's when Levan's wall collapses, Lasha's (Giorgi Grdzelidze) wife leaves home and the ceiling collapses onto Zauri (Temiko Chichinadze). Everyone considers Gia to be guilty of all this, although it is not clear why. He is just asking for what belongs to him, he has put a lot of work into the renovation. As the rest of the neighbors celebrate in advance, Gia is initially suspicious of the proposal. Some of the neighbors are already looking at the new apartment on the Internet, Zauri writes large numbers during the survey to get more money, Lasha and Levan can't share the balcony, they are blinded with money and therefore don't get the idea that Gia is, in some way, right or an investor who appeared so suddenly with such a large amount may not be reliable.
The director tries to convey the essence of the conflict with details and environment. A house on the verge of collapse in a modern Tbilisi neighborhood, thin walls, a dirty yard, although the environment cannot emphasize what the director wants to achieve - to make the audience feel antipathy towards Gia because after each new episode, the neighbors appear wilder.
How to resolve the conflict in a peaceful way, when both sides are intensifying it. They move on to very absurd ideas that can inflame the already existing tension to extremes. In so many people, no one was sane and as a result, neither side is able to speak the language of mutual understanding - they cannot negotiate and make concessions.
When there is a lack of dialogue in the film, it could be filled with music. In this work, the music is heard only for a few seconds and it is low, like noise from outside and does not fulfill the function it is supposed to. However, music plays the most important role in cinema - it creates an emotional and semantic space during perception, it creates conditions for empathy. Consequently, the audience is easily involved in the process of watching the film. The music also leaves a big mark even after the film is over. Its role is also indispensable in the expression of inner action, in order to convey the most diverse moods and experiences of the characters. It helps the actors convey the feelings of the characters to the audience.
The camera is stopped for a long time on an empty space, does not move and the impression is created as if the audience is watching a theatrical performance. Close-ups are hardly used, which the work definitely lacks. There is a feeling of emptiness between the episodes, as if an important part was cut out during editing, which leaves a feeling of incompleteness.
Although the film has well-known and experienced actors, the level of their performance seems artificial - none of the characters' images are memorable, even though the main topic gives the opportunity to do so. The relatively weak script did not give the film a chance.
Gia's death is incomprehensible and meaningless, what was the point of such a finale if the investor turned out to be a crook and the case did not work out? Why did his wife Nino (Ia Sukhitashvili) sign the document for the sale of the apartment and why did she quietly leave the place? After living in the same yard for so many years, no one suffers Gia's death, but on the contrary, they feel relieved that their "better future" has no obstacles.
Sometimes it is difficult to communicate with neighbors. Some of them behave badly and do not think at all about how those who live in the neighborhood see it but sometimes it happens that we ourselves are far from good behavior and in this case "neighborhood wars" can reach extreme levels.
The pursuit of money, the premature celebration, Gia’s death brought the neighbors to the point of utter misery. Neither side could withstand the test and the friendship since childhood became a hundredfold. In the end, the topic raised in the film is interesting, its relevance allows you to analyze this problem from many angles and more deeply.