Georgia was one of the first provinces of the old Russian Empire where a film studio was established, and cinema production is still a strong feature of Georgia’s cultural life. Tbilisi stages a big annual international film festival. Many Georgians consider Sergo Zakariadze (1909–71) to have been their country’s greatest film actor, especially for his famous role as an ageing peasant searching for his soldier son in Father of a Soldier (1964). Tengiz Abuladze’s Monanieba (Repentance) was ground-breaking in opening up the Soviet past – a black portrait of a dictator clearly based on Stalin’s Georgian henchman Lavrenty Beria, it won
the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1987. The Georgian directors with most international recognition today tend to be expats
based in France. Otar Iosseliani, who has lived in France since 1982, had international success with Favourites of the Moon
in the 1980s. Monday Morning (2002) and Farewell, Home Sweet Home (1999) were both filmed in France, although they retain a strong Georgian identity.
Julie Bertucelli’s Since Otar Left (2003) is a clever tale of three generations of women sharing a Tbilisi flat, while Gela Babluani directed the scary thriller Legacy (2007), focused on a blood feud in the Georgian countryside. One of the best recent films spawned by Georgia (albeit not Georgian-made) is Paul Devlin’s 2003 documentary Power Trip, about an American company’s struggle to provide paid-for electricity in post-Soviet Tbilisi, with all the culture clashes this involves.