Oscars: Georgia Selects 'Namme' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Alphaviolet
Still from Zaza Khalvashi's 'Namme'

Zaza Khalvashi's poetic and lyrical film that pitches the natural world against industrial progress had its international premiere at the Tokyo Film Festival.

Zaza Khalvashi's poetic story of a family determined to protect an ancient and venerated water source at all costs, Namme, was nominated Friday at Georgia's submission in the best foreign language film for the 91st Academy Awards.

A co-production with Lithuania, the film — which screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival late last year — tells the story of a young woman's family with an inherited tradition of caring for a healing spring. Unlike her older brothers, the young woman — the Namme of the title, played by Mariska Diasamidze — takes the task seriously.

Set in an idyllic rural location where Muslims and Christians live peacefully side by side, the ancient healing qualities of the water are threatened by the construction of a hydroelectric power station, which is blamed for the loss of the spring waters.

At a loss to know what to do, the family patriarch (Aleko Abashidze) recalls an old tradition that demands a sacrifice to restore the waters.

Produced by Georgia's Sulkhan Turmanidze and Lithuania's Ieva Norviliene, with the support of the Georgian and Lithuanian national film centers, international sales are being handled by Alphaviolet.

Georgia has been submitting films to the Oscars most years since the mid 1990s; in 2014 Giorgi Ovashvili's Corn Island made the January shortlist. Georgian director Zaza Urushadze's Tangerines was nominated the same year, though, as the Oscars submission for Estonia, which co-produced the film.