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  Comets Cosmic Misses
Year: 2019
Director: Tamar Shavgulidze
Stars: Nino Kasradze, Ketevan Gegeshidze, Nina Mazodier, Mariam Iremashvili, Ekaterine Kalatozishvili
Genre: Drama, Romance, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Nana (Ketevan Gegeshidze) lives in a quiet town in Georgia, where she has stayed her whole life, born there, grew up there, got married there, had a child there and was widowed there. She will probably die there, if things continue in this way. She lives with her grown daughter Irina (Ekaterine Kalatozishvili) who she has a loving but slightly combative relationship with, though they have always been used to one another's company and mostly get along. But what the daughter does not know is there was another Irina in her mother's life, the person she is named after who caused a scandal in their turn by how close they became. And now, who should return to Nana's life but Irina (Nino Kasradze), older, wiser, and a little curious?

Comets made waves in its native Georgia, but not for good reasons, as its release was greeted with homophobic protest outside the cinemas it showed at, not huge throngs of bigots but enough to give it a bad reputation in that Eastern European country as gay movies were not exactly popular in that part of the world. For that reason, you feel as if you should be supporting the work, but you cannot do so regardless of quality, and it was difficult to ignore that while for the most part it was a quiet, gentle, even melancholy piece that centered on regrets about the journey never taken, the one you really feel you should have because it would have made for a richer existence as you look back on where you are now, there was that ending to consider.

Now, you cannot imagine anyone protesting this to have actually watched it, for if you did you would find a defiantly uncommercial effort that dealt in long takes and a mood verging on the sleepy, far from a rallying cry to the homosexualists of Georgia to rise up and be counted. What it did was suggest Nana and Irina would have been much more content if they had acted on their teenage feelings more and stayed together - Irina left the town when the scandal about their connection broke, leaving Nana to remain and face the music alone. That she has led a heteronormative existence ever since indicates either she saw the error of her ways, or that she felt betrayed and betrayed her personality in turn: as Irina comes back to sit in the garden they used to spend time in decades ago, the now-middle-aged women reflect on this.

We were also offered scenes of their younger selves (Nina Mazodier and Mariam Iremashvili) spending an idyllic summer together, stealing kisses and generally enjoying each other's company, and that contemplation of what was lost because of outside pressures and inner fears rises in the present once again. But while this was all very well, and a nice meditation on ageing and how we remember what was significant in our lives, there was that final ten minutes to consider too. The younger versions seem to be watching a science fiction film, and we are given a sequence or three from it to conclude the movie that you can only draw the message, regarding the title, that time and space are like a comet's trajectory, impossible to go back on, and a lonely existence since when you get down to it we are all as alone as that celestial body, travelling through our days relentlessly until we expire. However, this was relayed in a goofy set of scenes with daft sound effects and weird, quasi-philosophical shenanigans supposedly interpreted through space alien culture. It didn't ruin the film, indeed it made it memorable, but it was impenetrable for the most part.

[Click here to watch on MUBI.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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