Corn Island


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Corn Island
"Ovashvili tells the story with spare dialogue and absorbing attention to detail."

The long awaited second feature by acclaimed Georgian filmmaker George Ovashvili (who made The Other Bank/Gagma napiri) emerges as stunning pastoral drama combined with an engrossing psychological study.

He uses captivating imagery and visuals to present a highly topical subject – the intense relationship between man and nature.

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Stunningly set on the border between Georgia and the breakaway republic of Abhazia which is on a renowned geological fault-line, the director centres on a peasant farmer (Ilyas Salman) and his teenage daughter (Mariam Buturishvili) who build a shelter on an island which has sprung up after flooding from the Inguri River.

These temporary patches of land in the water have particularly fertile soil where the local farmers can grown extra crops – hopefully before they are all washed away again by more flooding.

Ovashvili tells the story with spare dialogue and absorbing attention to detail as the pair go about their tasks. Actions do speak louder than words. Occasionally the outside world intrudes – armed border patrols pass by in motorboats.

The girl’s budding sexuality also finds an outlet when a young man on the run from local armed forces comes to seek refuge.

It’s all invested with almost spiritual sense of calm in a film that sheds light on the Caucasus and its problems in a way that is illuminating and faithful.

Ovashvili's first film looked at a Georgian refugee who returned to Abkhazia in search of his father, whereas here he crosses sides to relate the narrative from an Abkhaz perspective which has caused some controversy at home.

Reviewed on: 09 Jul 2014
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An old peasant and his innocent 16-year-old granddaughter sow corn on an island in the middle of the Inguri River dividing Georgia from Abkhazia.

Director: George Ovashvili

Writer: Roelof Jan Minneboo, George Ovashvili, Nugzar Shataidze

Starring: Ilyas Salman, Mariam Buturishvili, Irakli Samushia, Tamer Levent

Year: 2014

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Georgia, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan

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