It is a common occurrence in cinema when directors cast non-professional actors in their films. In some cases, it can be their way of working and sometimes - they simply see in them the physical manifestation of a character created in the mind. Often, along with the success of the film, these actors also remain in the history of cinema, because of the roles they played. Such a future can be predicted for Makho (Babu) Khutsishvili, who played the main role in Giga Liklikadze's film "Pig" (2019).
The documentary "I Have No Wings" (2020) tells Makho’s story. His persona interested the director, Nino Memanishvili not because of his film role but because of his occupation of a falconer.
A falconer’s profession is very traditional and indigenous profession in Georgia, and along with all this, for the main character it is a source of income. He and his falcon stand in the tourist area for anyone who wants to take a photo with the bird for a certain amount of money. His skills are visible in his daily routine – how he attracts the clientele together with his partner (falcon). From the very first episodes, it is clear that he is able to communicate with people and can get them interested in his exotic friend.
The director also introduces us to Makho's family, which later becomes the leitmotif of the entire film. He lives in a small apartment with his mother and little brother. The latter is a person with disabilities. This is the reason why mother and son's attention, warmth and finances are mostly given to this small member of the family. This line is very important for the film because serious social and human problems are revealed in the narration of the story without the director’s interference.
Makho's little brother's life is limited to being in his bedroom because he has physical and mental retardation. His only entertainment is watching TV and playing on his tablet. It is difficult for him to communicate with people and to speak, that is why he is locked in the house. Apart from the family members, he communicates only with the educator, who brings him closer to society by developing skills. His joy is connected with his brother and mother. We can see how happy he is to be with them, at least for a little while. Especially with Makho, who doesn't see him that often because of work.
The film outlines a very complex problem. Makho is deprived of his tamed falcon because it is illegally obtained. In the process, it will be cleared out that the law also prohibits indirect exploitation, that's why he stays temporarily without a friend or income.
In the trial episode, when he and his friend are being sentenced, we can witness Makho’s love for the bird. For him, it is his family member because it is never seen in the film that he oppresses the bird with anything, on the contrary, he treats it as submissive – he feeds only special food, trains it and even respects the bird's personal space. Every touch is very careful. In the working environment, they are more like partners, as Makho says in one of the episodes, while talking to Russian tourists.
Being a falconer is Makho’s interest from his mother's side – this profession was taught to him by his grandfather. Actually, He has devoted his whole life to this activity, which has become an inseparable part of him, so instead of the one taken away by the law, he catches another falcon, but he has to train it. During this period, a new page opens in his life. This is a role in the film "Pig." At first, an incredible thing happens to him, which is also unbelievable to his friends. They often say that it is just a joke and nothing more. However, everything is very real.
Makho's transformation from a falconer to a film actor is very invisible in the film, his role as an actor is hardly seen because his profession is more interesting for the director. We hear the acting news when Makho discusses the filming process with his friends. Finally, we meet him at Bakuriani film forum, at which time the audience asks him a question. Here you can see the shyness and humility of this person, because the boy who was always in the shadows became the center of the Georgian cinema world for some time. It would be interesting to expand this topic to the end, how he felt at that time, when attention was paid to him not only in his homeland, but even in Europe.
I don't know what the director's idea or motif was for making this film but it is a fact that he was very lucky and could not use this luck to the end. Imagine if someone had started making a documentary about David Bradley in his time as of a falcon, and in the process Ken Loach had approved him for the lead role in “Kes” (1969), all of which could have failed to adequately reflect and follow through with the social theme - instead of showing the transformation of an ordinary boy into an amazing character. Nino Memanishvili almost missed such an opportunity.
Apart from the missed opportunity, there are no themes developed in the film. While watching it, it was difficult to understand what the director wanted to convey with this character. Somehow, overall, the film feels more like a "reality show" than a documentary. There is no obvious problem with it either. I mean something special that has not been shown before or is not clear to the audience. What is seen in the movie is a familiar theme for everyone and does not give anything special. Makho's character is nowhere to be seen, it feels like the character is working for a movie camera and doing everything for a movie camera. This is, first of all, the "merit" of the cameraman because he did not manage to adapt to the environment so as to become invisible to him.
The narrative style is very unclear, which can even be called non-cinematic. The very first shot of the film begins with an image of a falcon taken with Makho's cell phone, a shot that would have been a better way to end the film. This is especially noticeable when the video is shot vertically.
At the end of the film, we can see how they organize a charity concert dedicated to Makho's younger brother at school, at which point we do not understand at all why the director showed us this episode – as a positive side of society or as a fact that such a thing happened and let's watch it too.
The film was made to the point that in the future it will become a visible material about how the main character of the film "Pig" lived in reality. This is an emotionless and dull movie about the Georgian "Kes" devoid of subtexts and a narrative.