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"I wanted to make my debut with a powerful story, which at the same time would feel like my own"

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Tinatin Kajrishvili • Director


- Cineuropa spoke to Georgian filmmaker Tinatin Kajrishvili, who screened her feature debut, Brides, at the London Film Festival

Tinatin Kajrishvili  • Director

Georgian-born filmmaker Tinatin Kajrishvili has made her feature debut with a story very close to her own personal experience. Brides [+see also:
film review
interview: Tinatin Kajrishvili
film profile
shows the daily routine of a young mother, whose partner is serving a prison sentence. A repressive legal system and the feeling experienced by many women that they, too, are serving a sentence, despite not being behind bars, are two of the main themes in Kajrishvili’s film. It was an audience favourite in the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival and was recently shown at the London Film Festival

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Cineuropa: The theme you chose for your debut is something very personal.
Tinatin Kajrishvili: I wanted to start with something powerful which also truly felt like something of my own, so I decided to share my personal experience. My husband, like so many others, was serving a long prison sentence for committing a misdemeanour. It was such a difficult and emotional experience that I needed to set it free through the film. I spent three or four years investigating other cases so that the story would become more representative of different voices.

Thankfully, the situation has changed for the better since this script was written.
When we began developing the project, the situation my husband was in was fairly commonplace. There was zero tolerance, no matter the crime. Now, even though minor crimes continue to be punished with prison sentences, time spent in prison has reduced considerably, and half of the prisoners who were in this situation have been granted amnesty. Even so, it’s easy to end up in prison for two to three years.

So how did you manage to shoot in one of the country’s prisons, being so critical of its penal system?
Luckily for us, there was a change in government. The prison that we ended up using during filming is one of the oldest in the country, dating from the Soviet era. Representatives of the European Union didn’t allow the country to continue keeping people in such precarious conditions, which also worked in our favour. The smells were still in the air: it was a very authentic experience for the actors, which helped them to convey the story we wanted to tell in front of the camera.

This project was achieved on a shoestring budget.
It cost barely a few thousand euros and was filmed in 26 days. Fortunately, I also took on the role of producer, which allowed me to get to know the limits of the project first-hand. The method of filming also helped. I preferred to do long takes, waiting for the moment of truth to arise between the actors and incorporating it during editing, instead of repeating prefabricated scenes over and over again.

There seems to be a change in register in your next film, One Way Ticket.
It’s a black comedy about a man surrounded by women in today’s world. Even though I wouldn’t like to be called a feminist director, this film will really put a focus on themes like the feminine universe and matriarchal culture, looking at the changes we’ve experienced in our personal relationships. 

(Translated from Spanish)

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