In Bloom is not the first nor the last story about female friendship in modern patriarchal cultures (Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels come to mind), but our next EuRaw Stories film comes from a world most of us are not familiar with: Georgia during the civil war of the early 90s.
Filmmaker Nana Ekvtimishvili grew up in Tbilisi and the film emerged from memories of a childhood in the chaos of post-Soviet Union times.
First time actresses Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria are unlikely to leave you unmoved. There is a lot of ‘showing not telling’ throughout the film, which helps audiences connect with the two young women, guessing at complex emotions that even they seem to be just working out.
One scene screams out loud the reality of that world: while the two friends queue for bread one day, Natia gets ‘bride kidnapped’ ( a practice now illegal in Georgia, but still practiced in some parts of the world) by one her suitors, Kote. The impassive queuers mind their own business, which suggests this is the done thing and it doesn’t require special intervention.
The film doesn’t take sides. The focus is on the two female heroines, but everyone, including the matcho agressive young men, is a victim at the mercy of a tough, insecure and chaotic world, reinforcing the violence of these times, these parts.
There is so much poetry in In Blooms’s everyday, in the friendship between the two girls, in the stolen moments of laughter. All this is balanced with the ferocius energy of the background, the regular reminders that this is not a peaceful world and its violence creeps into the quotidian scanes of family live or classroom attendance.
In Bloom screens this coming Sunday at 2.30pm at Library at the Docks. Get your pass to see it now.