A Fold in My Blanket: Berlin Review

Berlinale A Fold In My Blanket - H 2013

Berlinale A Fold In My Blanket - H 2013

An inscrutable and innocuous bit of Georgian surrealism.

Writer-director Zaza Rusadze's debut feature follows the exploits of a young man caught in a bizarre triangle of family, bureaucracy and mountain climbing.

BERLIN -- Filled with as many WTF moments as can be squeezed into 70 minutes, but none the more compelling for it, Georgian writer-director-producer Zaza Rusadze’s A Fold in My Blanket (Chemi Sabnis Naketsi) follows the exploits of a young man caught in a bizarre triangle of family, bureaucracy, and, well, mountain climbing. A baffling choice to open up Berlin’s Panorama section, this Hubert Bals Fund joint will probably find a few additional fest berths before folding away into obscurity.

Not that Rusadze doesn’t attempt, at least in the film’s opening scenes, to deliver something oddly intriguing: In a mix of shadowy photography and layered sound, we see Dimitrij (Tornike Bziava) descending into a cave and opening a magical door. Next, he’s applying for a clerk position inside a provincial courthouse, whose stifling, absurdist atmosphere Rusadze manages to render in a few cleverly framed moments.

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Thereafter, Blanket quickly flies off the rails, tossing in a handful of inscrutable characters, including a scruffy local (Tornike Gogrichiani) accused of killing a government flag bearer (Giorgi Nakashidze), and an Alzheimer’s sufferer named Irina (Ljudmila Mgebrishvili-Artemieva), whose total incomprehension of her surroundings seems to reflect that of the audience watching the movie.

Only an hour or so in does the murder plot -- if it can be called that – fully come to light, but it’s too little, too late for a film that rarely bothers to justify its surrealist set-up. The press notes, which include not one but two loglines, followed by three different synopses, only deepen the confusion, and whatever statements Rusadze is trying to make about modern Georgian society will likely fall on deaf ears.

Technically speaking, the movie shows some promise, with cinematographer Goga Devdariani aptly capturing the lush summer landscapes where Dimitrij travels to escape the oppression of his hometown. A closing title card, which reads “In Loving Memory: Your Lost Illusions,” wraps up this pretentious package perfectly.

Production companies: Zazarfilm

Cast: Tornike Bziava, Tornike Gogrichiani, Avtandil Makharadze

Director, screenwriter: Zaza Rusadze

Producer: Zaza Rusadze

Executive producers: Ineke Smits, Els Vandevorst

Director of photography: Goga Devdariani

Production designer: Wouter Zoon

Music: Natalie Beridze, Kai Lillich

Costume designer: Polina Rudchik

Editor: Tamuna Karumidze

Sales Agent: Media Luna New Films

No rating, 69 minutes