A WARM THANK YOU TO COLD LIPS and Kirsty Allison for inviting me to the London press screening of ‘And Then We Danced’ – here’s my review+
‘And Then We Danced’ (2019) screams THE URGENCY OF A YOUTH TO FIERCELY RECLAIM ITS CULTURAL HERITAGE through the story of Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani), auditioning for the Georgian National Dance main ensemble – when he is not raving his homosexuality away.
Following a cinematography as warm, loving and celebratory as ‘Call Me By Your Name’ yet more organic for its in situ documented story line, Swedish-Georgian director Levin Akin points at the LGBT+ controversy in a still highly stigmatised Georgian society.
MORE MASCULINITY, MORE CONFORMITY, echoes in the background for 1h53, like Merab’s bleeding ankle hitting old concrete. Trenchant and alarming, here’s Georgia’s homophobic reality clashing back and forth with the dog’s life of what it takes to be a dancer. An eye-opening and life-assuming lesson of resilience inspired by real stories, highlighting the slaughtering of gender identities diverging from the Orthodox Christian post-Soviet minds and bodies. Homosexuality in Georgia got only decriminalised in 2000, with anti-discrimination laws adopted in 2006. No surprise in learning that the film couldn’t be produced in peace and harmony: its choreographer and musicians chose to remain anonymous fearing for their lives, and director as much as actors received death threats.
With its multiple nominations, Cannes included, this new indie ODE TO GAY ROMANCE AND VISUAL PAMPHLET ON VIRGINAL TRADITIONS makes room for a major reassessment of Georgian society and its deflowering through a minority lusting for free love and identity.
AN ODE TO THE FLESH, the essence of a life to feel and not to simply exist in, the everyday dreamers facing half-baked and expected undermining norms, finally to a society still awaiting major reassessment for a freedom of expression not to be imagined anymore.+
IMAGE COURTESY OF IMDb
AND THEN WE DANCED | Interview with Levan Akin and Levan Gelbakhiani | ZFF Daily 2019
And Then We Danced – Gay-themed film at the heart of clashes in Tbilisi
SBIFF Cinema Society – « And Then We Danced » Q&A with Director & Cast
Georgian National Ballet