Moira: The threads of destiny
by Jesús Silva
- Set on the Georgian shores of the Black Sea, Levan Tutberidze's latest film is an ominous tale about the members of a fragmented family and their futile attempts to reconstruct their lives
After being submitted as the Georgian representative for the 2016 Academy Awards, and having had its world premiere in the Main Competition of the San Sebastián Film Festival, Levan Tutberidze's Moira [+see also:
film profile] has been honoured once again through its selection as the opening film of the 16th Tbilisi International Film Festival (read the news). The film follows the efforts of a tormented family, whose members try to confront their terrible fate, while exploring themes of sacrifice and punishment in a society overshadowed by crime and a constant sense of distrust. Moira is a Cinetech Film production, written by Tutberidze, Davit Pirtskhalava and Giorgi Kobalia.
The opening sequence of the film introduces us to young Mamuka (Paata Inauri), who has just been released from prison after a five-year stretch. When he returns to his family home on the Georgian coast, ready to get on with his life again, he encounters a rather bleak situation: the consequences of poverty, illness and despair. His father (Zaza Magalashvili), once a tireless worker in the port, is now confined to a wheelchair after suffering a severe stroke; his mother (Keti Tskhakaia) is basically absent, working as a singer in Greece; while his younger brother Shota (Giorgi Khurcilava), besides becoming unemployed, has been stumbling down the same paths that saw Mamuka end up behind bars. Determined to change the situation, the latter decides to buy a small fishing boat (named Moira, after the Greek goddess) and tries to make a living from it in order to help his family. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, he fails to keep his brother away from bad influences and dangerous habits, and cannot prevent either himself or his sibling from treading a path to ruin.
Tutberidze delivers a strong and solid drama, whose main plotline and motifs resemble those of a classic tragedy, although it sometimes fails to maintain this level of quality with its parallel storylines (such as Shota's love story, Mamuka’s troubled past before entering prison or their mother’s secret life abroad). Overall, Moira is an intense family drama focused on the relationships between the main characters and the choices they are willing to make to protect each other from the merciless threads of fate. The extraordinary backdrop and landscapes of the Black Sea, masterfully captured by Gorka Gómez Andreu's cinematography, come together with the musical score by Nuri Abashidze to mould a permanent atmosphere of unrest and trouble. The whole narrative is brilliantly led by Inauri’s reliable performance, but sometimes the story degenerates into a less well-developed crime film intended to trigger the plot devices that will nudge the protagonist towards the fairly predictable conclusion.