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Swatch First Feature Award: Sashishi deda

Concorso Cineasti del presente

Swatch First Feature Award: Sashishi deda

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In most cases it takes time (and more than one film) for a filmmaker to find an aesthetic form that can tell the mental and emotional state of the characters through images. With his debut film, Sashishi deda (Scary Mother), the Georgian director Ana Urushadze demonstrates instead that she possesses surprisingly mature clarity of storytelling and a mastery of vision. Her protagonist Manana – a fifty-year old housewife whose passion for writing becomes a real obsession, able to consume both her and the family relationships on which she builds her life on – is a female figure inserted in a cinematic content revealing from the opening scenes a sense of oppression. The ostentatiously symmetrical staging and the work on the dominant chromaticity (especially the fiery red in a couple of scenes) transforms the basic realism of the film into a dense tale of metaphors of the visual pulsating underground. The status quo in which the protagonist lives is overwhelming in its daily banality, and Urushadze manages to show it to the public without having to use excessive underscores or unnecessarily dramatic moments. Sashishi deda is a feature film only seemingly restrained, which opens up in a final confrontation scene of lashing and painful irony. Its primary strength is in Urushadze’s vision itself, which might be observing from afar but not with detachment. With the camera, she participates in the existential estrangement that her Manana undergoes first-hand. And she returns it to the public in all its desolation.

Adriano Ercolani
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