Evening there minions…
Ahh a lovely weekend spent out in the country tending to my inner calm and making sure i recharged my batteries…. Sod that! there was no decent internet connection. I even had to do things like speak to people and read book and stuf.f I’m developing social skills against my will!
But one of the things that i so often admire about small communities, no matter where they are is the dynamics involved. Whether it’s the tyranny of the majority (heaven help you if you are different to what is classed as “normal”) or the influence of a “powerful” figure in charge who runs the show, sometimes being in a small community can be a horribly oppressive place to live in.
And with that in mind, this weeks cult film tells about such a community that was forced to live under the yoke f such an oppressive personality. Ladies and Gentlemen, i give to you REPENTANCE.
Made in 1984 and from the country of Georgia, the films starts with the funeral of the mayor of a msall town, Varlam Aravidze, an apparently popular and well-loved man. The day after the funeral, his corpse mysteriously appears in the his son’s garden. He is reburied only to reappear again. they catch the perpetrator, a woman who during her trial tells (through flashback) the reality of Aravidze’s time as mayor which she contends was that of a brutal and repressive regime instead of that a venerated public servant.
Repentance is a film that often feels like an onion. It starts off with all of the party officials announcing their sorrow and love for their former mayor. Indeed, despite his hitler moustache, the mayor initially comes across as a kindly person, almost like a jovial uncle. but it soon the layers peel back gives way to a colder personality, a man who cracks down brutally on the christian community. the film was based on the real life oppression in Georgia, where churches were torches, priests were killed or imprisoned and there was a real sense of state terror against religion. Indeed Repentance was shelved after its initial release for 3 years until the Gorbachev regime came into power and it was released at home and abroad.
Again i have to thank the wonders of the old Channel 4 in the UK and their world cinema season for being able to see this film when i was 15 years old, at 2am on a Monday morning. A late night education well spent.
So if you want to grab a chance to view a slice of superior russian 80s cinema, then Put your feet p, pur a glass of chilled vodka and watch this film. Remember, in Soviet Russia, film watches you!