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10/21 (Mon) Looking for Love in Tbilisi- Competition “Blind Dates” Press Conference

Blind Dates

©2013 TIFF

Competition “Blind Dates” Press Conference
Levan Koguashvili (Director/Screenplay/Editor/Producer)
Andro Sakhvarelidze (Actor)
Olena Yershova (Producer)
Suliko Tsulukidze (Producer)

As Georgian director Levan Koguashvili put it succinctly about his film “Blind Dates,” “This is not a pure comedy. What I wanted to make was a film about real life. And real life is a mix of tragedy and comedy.”
His bittersweet Kaurismäki-esqe tragicomedy follows a hapless 40-year-old hero, Sandro (Andro Sakhvarelidze) and his search for love in the mixed-up world of contemporary Georgia. It’s a world of hard-drinking and fairly clueless bachelors, a sort of low level mafia that protects its own, refugees from disputed borderlands that wind up at the bottom of the heap in Tbilisi. Through this all, good-hearted Sandro perseveres.
The film opens with one of the more hilarious dating scenes in film history. Sandro finds himself in a stark hotel room in the middle of the afternoon with a blind date, who obviously doesn’t want to be there. And he has no idea of what to say or do.
Koguashvili explained, “Our goal was to show the absurdity of these kinds of dates. You know, when people don’t know each other already. They meet in this strange hotel. It’s about communication problems, more than people trying to find something in life. For that, we thought this kind of hotel was a better scene for this kind of meeting. And we liked the blue walls in the hotel. That’s the main reason we shot it there.”
When questioned about why Sandro, in the few scenes of him driving, looked so tentative and drove so slowly, Koguashvili cleared thing up. He said, “I have to share this secret now for the first time. It was actually the first time Andro to drive. He went to driving school for 2 weeks before – to practice – and actually on the shoot it was the first time he drove.”
Sakhvarelidze added his own philosophical aside. “I do think it symbolizes the character of Sandro, because in his life everybody’s passing him by. He’s left behind, so I think it’s very symbolic.”
In the film, Sandro meets and ends up taking care of Natia, a young refugee impregnated by the husband of the woman Sandro actually loves. It’s a complicated set of relationships.
When asked why this bit of plot was added to the film Koguashvili explained, “Like any refugees, they’re experiencing many problems. Our goal was through this kind of love story to show contemporary Georgian life – and different aspects of this life. So, showing these refugees is part of our reality. Plus, I think it’s cinematic. The place is interesting.”
Sandro goes through ups and downs as the film progresses. He doesn’t quite get the girl of his dreams. Or does he? No matter, he keeps his strange integrity intact.
As Koguashvili explained, “I personally think that physical or material victory is not necessarily a true victory. The moral or spiritual victory is the real victory.”
He added, “When I shoot a film, it has to reflect reality. What does it mean how it’s interpreted, I don’t think about when I’m shooting. But it has to reflect reality.”
And what a strange and wonderful reality it is.
Blind Dates

KEIRIN.JPThe 25th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
25th Tokyo International Film Festival(2012)