The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear: Sundance Review

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.