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After 16 years of imprisonment, 40-years-old Gogliko is released from jail. He doesn't exactly know what he did that deserved 16 years of jail time. A free man, a changed country awaits him. His personal life has drastically altered. His parents have passed and most of his friends have died during the Civil War period. Gogliko realizes that he will not be able to find his place in this "new" Georgia, only thing he has to do is to care about his passed friend's 16-years-old son.Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
I had the good fortune of seeing "The Guardian" at a local film festival. I was very impressed with it, not just in terms of its almost documentary-like style, but also in terms of the story it tells and what it reveals about Georgia (and the Caucasus) today.
On the face of it, a film like this to a Westerner with absolutely no knowledge or experience with this region might not seem that extraordinary. However, if you have a background in the Caucasus, then you can see a story here that is very simple yet very profound and laced with symbolic meanings.
It should be noted that the setting for "The Guardian" is first and foremost key to the plot. It takes place in modern-day, post-Rose Revolution Georgia. The protagonist Gogliko was arrested during the Georgian civil war of the 1990s and has just recently been released from prison. Just as the soldier Filimonov is struck by life in post-revolutionary Russia in Ermler's 1929 Soviet masterpiece "Fragment of an Empire," so is Gogliko totally struck by the changes in the new, post-Rose Revolution Georgia. The absence of low-level corruption, the presence of female police officers, the influx of investment from Europe, the glitzy Rose Revolution architecture, and the general social rejection of the lawlessness of the 1990s astound (and sometimes confound) him.
Yet this only sets the stage for the more meaningful plot. Gogliko is entrusted to be the guardian of his godson Luka, the son of his best friend who was killed in the civil war. Luka is an A student interested in studying the various conflicts of the Caucasus. He is in love with the lovely young Tika who is the daughter of a big time politician who was previously a member of the militia that opposed Gogliko and that killed Luka's father during the civil war.
It is this Romeo-and-Juliet-esque love between Luka and Tika that Tika's father seems determined to prevent and that Gogliko decides to encourage. In their relationship, Luka and Tika together represent a sort of "new Georgia" and perhaps even a "new Caucasus" in which the division and animosity of the past is substituted by a trust for a promising future.
The narrative is a compelling one and I won't ruin the rest of the film for those who have yet to see it. However, if you have not seen this film, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is a great view into the culture and society of Georgia and the Caucasus today.
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