Watch Since Otar Left
- 1 hr 43 min
Since Otar Left is a heart-wrenching drama that revolves around three generations of Georgian women who struggle with the pain of loss and the responsibility of holding a family together. Directed by Julie Bertuccelli and released in 2003, this French-Belgian-Georgian co-production offers a poignant portrayal of the human condition, where hope and despair, love and sacrifice, and truth and lies collide in unexpected ways.
The story takes place in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, not long after the fall of the Soviet Union. Eka (Esther Gorintin) is an elderly woman who lives in a shabby apartment with her daughter Marina (Nino Khomasuridze) and her granddaughter Ada (Dinara Drukarova). Eka's son Otar emigrated to France years ago and sends them money every month. Eka idolizes Otar, a doctor who she believes is doing well in his new life, and keeps his photo on the wall as a reminder of his achievements.
One day, Marina receives a phone call from Paris that shatters their fragile routine. Otar has died, and Marina has to break the news to her mother. But she can't bring herself to do it, knowing that Eka will be devastated. Instead, she decides to lie and pretend that Otar is still alive, sending fake letters and photos to Eka, imagining that she can protect her mother from the truth.
As Marina struggles to maintain the charade, Ada tries to pursue her dreams of becoming an artist, but faces obstacles from her family and society's prejudices against women. Ada's boyfriend, who is also an artist, encourages her to pursue her art and live freely, but Ada feels guilty for neglecting her duties to her family. When Marina's search for a job leads to a job offer in Paris, she sees it as a chance to escape her burdens and start a new life. But leaving her mother and daughter behind proves to be more difficult than she anticipated.
As the three women deal with their grief, secrets, and dreams, their relationships and identities become intertwined in unexpected ways. Eka becomes suspicious of Marina's lies and starts to investigate on her own, leading to a reveal of painful truths. Ada discovers a treasure trove of photographs and documents that shed light on Otar's real life and legacy, and confronts her mother about the lies they have been living. Marina, torn between her duty to her family and her desire for self-realization, faces a choice that will determine her future and her relationship with her daughter.
Throughout the film, the themes of loss, memory, and identity are explored through the characters' perspectives and experiences. Eka struggles with her nostalgic attachment to the Soviet era and her longing for her son's presence. Marina tries to balance her love for her mother and her individuality as a woman and a professional. Ada, caught between her grandmother's traditions and her boyfriend's modernity, seeks to find her own voice and vision. The film's visual style, which combines documentary-style footage with poetic photography and framing, adds to the film's emotional intensity and authenticity.
Since Otar Left has received critical acclaim for its humane portrayal of the struggles of women in a changing world, as well as its empathy and sensitivity towards the complexities of family relationships. The film won the Critics' Week Grand Prize and the International Critics' Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, as well as several other awards and nominations. It has been praised for its naturalistic acting, nuanced writing, and political relevance, as well as its depiction of Georgian culture and history. Overall, Since Otar Left is a powerful and engaging film that invites the audience to reflect on the universal themes of love, loss, and legacy.