School, a place where people spend most of their lives. They get to know others, make friends, they even fight, make mistakes and then all this follows them throughout their lives. Each misstep or inappropriate behavior affects others. The barriers people have from school are sometimes visible, often invisible, and destroy them.

"Greetings, my painful childhood!"- the phrase that located the entire film. David Pirtskhalava's film, "A Long Break" (2022) depicts a terrible school period that took place in one night. Regret and loneliness are felt from the very first shots. Despair and the futility of life follow the character shown at the beginning of the film. Tsitsi thought that she would die and finish everything but life is an irony, she held the knife at a blunt angle and the only thing she managed to do was leave a huge scar on her neck. Her father's voice brought her back to reality - "What can I do, how can I help you?"-the voice is heard and there is no answer.

Tsitsi is a lonely person, oppressed by life, a person who could not arrange her life and blames everything on her childhood. She clutches on the past and tries to find the culprit not in herself but in someone else, and it works. She goes to her classmate, Guga. She knocks on the door fearlessly, she doesn't know what is awaiting her on the other side, she doesn't think. Guga is a childhood nightmare for her. Guga's wife opens the door and she seems desperate, she enters the room with feigned calmness, looks around, sits down, tries to start a conversation, can't rest, stands up, leaves the room and waits for her classmate in the hallway. When Guga comes, Tsitsi doesn't talk much, she just tells about how bad her life is. She does not tell about Pochkhua, nor about others, she simply invites him to a gathering. Why didn't Tsitsi tell Pochkhua's story to Guga? Did she really care? Perhaps not, she was afraid that he might not come to the meeting and in that case she could not take revenge on him.

Former classmates meet after thirteen years. The question is, why didn't they get together until now, say, 3-4 years after graduation? They might have had a different reality. They might have been afraid of looking into each other's eyes or all of them were afraid of Guga. Why didn't they move to another class if they felt so bad and their lives were falling apart? Didn't they dare? Maybe they didn't tell their parents what was happening at school. One of them had no parents and Guga was the person who brought him food. That is, the boy was not bad for everyone. It seems that Guga was not the one to be blamed for everything. They were also weak. When they were oppressing each other, none of them said that they didn't want to stop anymore. During the entire school period, other people's lives continued to be bitter and with that they were united. Back then, everything didn't seem so intense, which got worse over the years.

In the film, the story does not start from the first shot. It begins when everyone gathers in the old school canteen and sits down, like at Christ’s last supper. Even if the rest of the footage does not exist, it will not detract much from the film. As if they are simply added to the timing. And the "grown up" men sitting at the table are "sons of sin." During the school period, they hurt others and each other, and that is exactly why life punished each of them. Gulo is a drunkard, Pochkhua has lost the ability to walk, Tsitsi is alone, she has no one but her father and nothing, "Devdara" is trying to exchange reality for club drugs, at a glance, Guga should be happy, he has a wife, a good job, but his health is weak. Did anyone survive? Perhaps "Moron." The only thing known about him is that he has children and reads the gospel to his grandmother.

What is the essence of the film? To be a lesson for other people? Probably not. Children won't understand the film, it's too late for the adults, they've finished school. Then why did the director make the film? What did he want to say to the audience? Such a situation exists in schools and you should be aware? Everyone already knew this. He might have just reminded people of deeply buried pains.

It's hard to say who plays the role well or who is the better actor. Because of the plot, attention is no longer paid to their acting. No one cares who took how many steps, who sat down wrongly. All this is overtaken by the script. Directionless, one after the other shots, in the background of which the conversation of classmates can be heard, as if showing their past way.

Although there are many characters involved in the film, the impression remains that the film is a performance of two actors. The rest are just props for the diversity of the shot. It is true that Guga is their childhood nightmare, which they probably don't talk about anymore, but the duel between Tsitsi and Guga is sharper and brighter than the others. They are in the background. All the emotions, pain, disgust, disappointment and at the same time forgiveness seems to revolve only around these two. When Tsitsi saw Guga lying on the ground, who was probably one step closer to death, she was stunned for a few seconds, then took a deep breath, held her breath, exhaled, forgave Guga and then tried to help him. When she realized that although Guga had a good job and a wife, he was still not happy, that's when she forgave him. She seems to have felt the man descended to her level and now they were both standing one one line, facing each other. Now Guga was no longer an oppressor, nor was Tsitsi a schoolgirl, they grew up and no one is afraid of that boy anymore.

The episode of his wife coming to school is also interesting. A section that had nothing to do with that situation. Apparently he took the actors out of their roles. Nothing was important in this episode. What did the director show the audience with this moment? Was it, look, does Guga have a wife? They already knew this very well.

The title of the film "A Long Break" is also thought provoking. The question arises, from what? Or from whom? From each other? And these questions have no answers. Perhaps it should have been given a different title. For example, Judgment Night or Judgment. It all works out as they've come together to show Guga how bad he was as a kid and how he destroyed each of them. Because of his words and actions, Pochkhua quit dancing, went to Iraq, was shot and now sits in a wheelchair. He had killed Guga many times in his thoughts but in reality he did not dare. Why hasn't he seen or written to me in so many years? Could he not forgive the school period or is he afraid of it? Or why didn't Tsitsi try to talk to Guga face to face shortly after graduation? Why did she keep the anger in her heart that destroyed her? What was she thinking about Guga for so long? Probably, he also killed her in his thoughts and said those words that he did not dare face to face, and when he saw her, he did not dare then either. He only walked around her from a distance and tried to talk rudely with her. With hints, he spent half the night of the gathering under the hidden anger and this anger was clinging to his body like a worm, eating from the inside, and finally it broke out, he couldn't help himself anymore and opened the knife. Anyway, the film might have ended with the dialogue between Pochkhua and Guga, and the rest of the actions are only part of the illusion.

Barbare Kalaijishvili



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