The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear: Sundance Review

The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear

Georgia, Germany (Director: Tinatin Gurchiani)

A film director casting a 15-23-year-old protagonist visits villages and cities to meet people who answer her call. She follows those who prove to be interesting enough through various dramatic and funny situations. North American Premiere

A glimpse into the drab existence of common people in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, now independent and world-weary.

Tinatin Gurchiani highlights the rural-dwelling citizens of Georgia, a nation recently independent from the Soviet Union, in her new documentary.

PARK CITY - Filmmaker Tinatin Gurchiani lures townsfolk with a movie casting call in her native Georgia (not the “peach” state) but the former Soviet republic.  She attracts a mostly motley cross-section of provincial dreamers, depressives and the nearly destitute. One of the applicants, a somber tattooed woman, opines that she wishes there would be a machine that would make her disappear. That title, at least, is more alluring than what this film actually is – a visit to the depressed, rural mire of a nondescript country.

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Overall, The Machine is an ethnographic document in which present-day Georgia is depicted.  Unfortunately, present-day Georgia resembles past-day Georgia:  It’s a glut of rotting Soviet-designed apartment complexes, shambles of farmyard barns and muddied paths.  A mountainous country divided into distinctive eastern and western patches, Georgia has endured a number of military conflicts in recent years, as evidenced by the dispirited and drained citizens in this document.

As a National Geographic-style pictorial, The Machine is modestly engaging. The stolid people, many of them incongruously outfitted in cheap Western-like sportswear, are a somber and grim lot. In essence, they resemble the countryside, a drab and gray-skied chasm in which the filmmaker’s lure of a “Hollywood”-style escape dredges up a worn down section of citizens.

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Director: Tinatin Gurchiani

No rating, 87 minutes.