The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear 2012
Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Directed by Tinatin Gurchiani
DVD, color, 88 min.
Sr. High - General Adult
Communism, European History, Family Relations, Farming, Future, Geography, Poverty, Sociology, Storytelling, Adolescents, War
Date Entered: 07/18/2014Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
When filmmaker Gurchiani returned to her homeland in 2011, it was with the intention of giving an authentic account of the lives average Georgian citizens. To that end, an open casting call for 15-23 year olds was sent out through various media channels, asking only that those who auditioned be prepared to talk about themselves to the camera. The result is an insightful and emotionally charged look at a generation that is struggling to enter adulthood under extremely challenging conditions.
Georgia, a small Eurasian country bordering the Black Sea with a rich cultural and linguistic heritage, has also seen its fair share of strife. Part of the Soviet Union from 1921 until its dissolution in 1991, Georgia – like the young people in this film – is also struggling to find its place in the world. In addition to widespread poverty and unemployment that first world audiences cannot comprehend, ethnic, religious and political conflicts over disputed regions have often turned violent. Given its recent history and current environment, despair and sadness underlie the participants’ stories.
Speaking from off-camera, Gurchiani asks each of the 16 youthful protagonists in the film to talk candidly about their hopes, dreams, fears and worries. Some of the monologues are only a few minutes long while others are lengthier. Additionally, the director and her crew follow and film a few participants as they go about their daily lives. It is through the monologues and location clips that viewers see a world that is both like and unlike our own.
Bonus features include a short interview with Gurchiana that provide more detail on how and why the film was made. Winner of several international awards, including the Sundance World Cinema Directing Award for 2013, this is a film that is difficult to classify. The eyes, faces and stories of these young people are also hard to forget.