“Blackbird, Blackberry”: a lonely soul’s late awakening to sensuality

“Blackbird, Blackberry”: a lonely soul’s late awakening to sensuality


On the eve of her 50th birthday, a woman makes love for the first time with a man, begins an affair with him, and her sensitive experience is then not reversed, but modified (the nuance is important ). This could be a summary summary of the third feature film by Elene Naveriani, a non-binary filmmaker and eccentric figure of the young Georgian scene, operating in Switzerland.

The tone is set from the opening scene where the natural setting adds a dose of dreaminess. In a little corner of nature away from the village, Ethéro is tasting a blackberry , her guilty pleasure, when the untimely flight of a blackbird almost causes her to fall on the hillside. Recovered, she glances down to see – dizzyingly – her own corpse lying in the Rioni River. From the outset, the motif of splitting opens a breach, and the life that results from it seems marked with the strange seal of reprieve, perceived from this impossible (and therefore symbolic) position that is death.

This funereal omen will respond, in spurts of adverse sap, the successive embraces of Ethéro with Mourmane, occurring first in his back shop, almost by chance, on the basis of an insistent look, then in places ever more hidden: a clearing away from prying eyes, a room in the city, up to the horizon of an improbable exile in Turkey. Elene Naveriani avoids nothing of the attraction between faded bodies weighed down by the weight of years, in frank and original love scenes, confronted without erotic filter or harsh light of the naturalistic ordeal.

The unusual, laconic poetry of “displaced” beings

Blackbird, blackberry thus adopts a risky register, because it is undecidable: the unusual, laconic poetry of beings and things “displaced” – and strong in being so. Throughout, the film remains at the fine corner of reality and imagination, in this place where they come apart. In the account of realism, we will include a predilection for wide frames, bodies filmed in their entirety, places embraced and finely described, chosen in Colchis.

To that of the imagination, willingly pensive plans, a duration that infuses, perceptual shifts, a subtle play on the lights (the day-night opposition revisited in green-ochre) or on the spots of color (such as the traces black of crushed blackberry, understood alternately as a sign of life or death). From the whole a strange tone emerges, both deep and dreamy, penetrating and yet light.

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