Aquarelle / აკვარელი

by Otar Iosseliani

(Fiction, USSR/Russia, 1958, 10’, BW, Fr ST)

with Guennadi Kracheninnikov, Sofiko Tchiaoureli


A laundress quarrels with her drunkard husband. He takes refuge in a museum. Iosseliani made this adaptation of Alexandre Grin’s novella during his studies at VGIK.

“In 1985, Raphaël Bassan wrote, “Iosseliani is a watercolorist of daily life, he looks at his contemporaries as an ethnologist, without defending any clearly identifiable ideological thesis.” In Akvareli, Otar Iosseliani, who could have interpreted the role of the painter, plays one of the museum’s guides. His later works never cease to designate what he considers essential to contemplate in life. He already delivers in this first film all the philosophy and aesthetics of his later work: a poetic and humanistic challenge in which the arts and music, taking time to live, observe, and think, play a prominent role.” Samantha Leroy,

Otar Iosseliani
Otar Iosseliani

Born in 1934 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Otar Iosseliani studied music brilliantly before starting scientific studies in Moscow, which he abandoned to join the National Institute of Cinematography in Moscow. His first short films Aquarelle (1958) and April (1961) were blacklisted in the USSR. His first feature-length film, Falling Leaves (1966), traces the daily life of a peasant community in a very impressionist style. His art of contemplative distance, similar to Jacques Tati’s, his acknowledged master, asserted itself with Once Upon A Time There Was A Singing Blackbird (1971) and Pastorale (1976). His work totters between fiction and documentary. His attraction to purely visual language brought him closer to the authors of the Nouvelle Vague Française: François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard. Despite their creator’s international reputation, these films were banned from export for many years. Based in France since 1982, Iosseliani directed his first French film Favorites of the Moon in 1984, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Mostra. He then shot And Then There Was Light (1989), Chasing Butterflies (1991), Brigands, Chapter VII (1995), Monday Morning (2001) – Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin International Film Festival, Gardens in Autumn (2005). Outside his country, Otar Iosseliani manages to keep the humanist vision nuanced with humor and irony that made the success of his Georgian films. His latest film Chantrapas (2009) is an ode to freedom. It follows the story of a young director (alter ego of the author) who makes no compromise with censorship, whether ideological or economic, in the name of freedom of creative thought. He has also directed several documentaries for television: Euskadi (1982), A Little Monastery in Tuscany (1988) and Georgia, Alone, a documentary triptych of more than four hours about his country of origin.

Other movies: Tributes

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