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BLACK NIGHTS 2022 Critics' Picks

Dito Tsindsadze • Director of Roxy

“Correctness and loyalty could be damn immoral”


- We spoke to the Georgian filmmaker living in Germany about his amusing comedy which questions in a smart way the rectitude of civil orderliness and today’s values in general

Dito Tsindsadze • Director of Roxy

Dito Tsindsadze has just presented Roxy [+see also:
film review
interview: Dito Tsindsadze
film profile
within the newly launched Critics’ Picks section of the Tallin Black Nights Film Festival, and Cineuropa talked to him about his personal experience reflected in the plot, his subtle political commentary, and some concrete approaches applied throughout the creative process.

Cineuropa: Roxy is a funny criminal comedy, scripted according to some genre rules. However, I can’t help but ask you if some details might be inspired by your personal experience of a Georgian living in Germany?
Dito Tsindsadze: I am always inspired by something that has happened to me or to friends of mine. But in this case, to be honest, I cannot record any concrete detail. It is more about transmitting this overall atmosphere of insensibility. I’ve met people who are so indifferent to anything around them, so I was fascinated to talk to them because they were always ready to listen, to give the right answer at the right moment. I felt there was something wrong and artificial although it was all very correct, excessively correct I would say. Emotions were lacking, it was like they were trying to be alive, to prove they were not dead, but there was something missing. Roxy’s main character Thomas was inspired by those Europeans who are trying to be perfectly correct and loyal. I don't like explaining my films because if I could put it in words, I would not make cinema. But If I have to formulate Roxy’s message in one sentence, it would sound like this: Correctness and loyalty could be damn immoral.

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You are actually demonstrating how so-called loyalty could be easily destroyed with a few wads of freshly printed banknotes.
Yes, money can indeed destroy loyalty and correctness. There are rates, of course – some guys cost less, while others would charge more just like the passports in the movie. A Ghana passport is very cheap, and a Canadian passport is very expensive. I don’t know anyone who was trying to get a Ghana passport, by the way.

What makes the film really entertaining are the reversed stereotypes – the German main character gradually gets enslaved by some Eastern Europeans; Germany itself, which is considered to be the backbone of Europe, is also shown in decay. Is this your comment on the geopolitical positions of East and West or maybe on the state of Germany?
The political situation is always involved, especially in this current dangerous situation in Europe. Although I started the movie before the war, the topic of the East-West clash has been always important to me since I am an Easterner living in the West. I rather wanted to comment on the world in general as it is very immoral at the moment. We all depend on material stuff and it seems that everything could be bought with money.

Your critique of the monetisation of everything in the world is made from a comedic point of view, but there is a certain desperation, too, as the plague has spread out everywhere. Fake passports are not made in the underground world but by actors in the theatre.
First of all, I want to say that I am very bored with films that take place in the underground world, there are tons of them. Secondly, I believe that fake passports nowadays could be really done everywhere, you don’t necessarily need to go to suspicious places. The quality of life depends on the side business, not on what one is officially doing. Money works in all aspects of life, it only depends on the amount. In this sense, I am very pessimistic. There is a certain minority of people who would not sell themselves, but unfortunately both you and I know the general rule.

You are criticising Germany somewhat harshly, no matter if it is in a comedic way. What was your German co-producers’ attitude towards your perspective?
I actually criticise everyone. As you said, Germany is a leading European country, without it and France, the European Union would not exist. And it’s actually a nation that managed to apologise publicly for its terrible historical mistakes. Because of this trauma, I think, they are trying to be correct about everything, but it’s impossible.

So maybe Roxy happened thanks to the German ability to be self-critical?
Absolutely! I cannot imagine making this movie in Russia.

The very faces of the actors are all typical of the nations they represent. Was this intentional?
It was my idea and I would definitely mention actors because I loved to work with them. Can you imagine how much fun we had on the set? They were improvising all the time, mostly in dialogues. But also, the scene with the waitress who brings milk to the Russian guy. It’s again about order – if someone wants milk in a bar, they should get this milk and drink it, no matter how absurd it looks. We were shooting during the pandemic, so many locations were canceled last minute. The team was very inventive and helped me a lot with finding new places but we had to change situations accordingly. The editor Matthieu Jamet also helped me very much by finding the right music – some scenes suddenly altered and obtained a special mood which I wanted to achieve but did not know how. Classical music in this case brings subtle irony, something I looked for.

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