Directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, In Bloom is a beautifully shot piece of cinema focusing on the condition of women in Georgia, 1992. Widely inspired by Nana’s childhood, who was fourteen in 1992, the film relates the story of Eka and Natia, two teenage girls living in Tbilisi at the time of the civil war. The camera follows them in their daily life, at home with their respective unstable family, at school where the two girls endure a draconian education, and in their confrontation with patriarchal societal rules.
What stands out from the beginning is the capacity of the film to only and solely focus on women whilst making the civil war a ghostly background to their life. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Georgia, and especially Tbilisi, broke into a civil war and fought for the recognition of its independence. The film never gives away a shot of the daily confrontations, and the only war we are left to see on screen is the fight civilians weekly endure to get a decent amount of bread loaf for their family. The families also never clearly mention what is happening outside their house; there is no need for that. The film is not about depicting Georgia’s heavy historical past, but focusing on the life of its civilians, and especially women, and their evolution as a people living the emancipation of their country.
As a result, the film offers a really slow pace that entraps the reality of Eka and Natia’s routine. The narration evolves around a gun that is given to Natia and the girls’ reflection about its use, its significance. Do they need a gun to protect themselves? If so, do they need a gun because of the war or because of the men in Tbilisi? As the film goes, these questions arise and the plot slowly moves on from childhood to womanhood.
In the vein of New Wave movements that focuses on people’s story and their relationship to the history of their country, In Bloom brings on Georgian’s history to our small screens. Without breaking through as an exceptional narration, maybe because of the general lack of information Western European countries are given about Georgia, the film clearly stands out for its photography and capacity to overcome the civil war itself and to bring along a moving friendship about two fourteen year-old girls.
In Bloom (2013), directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, is released in the UK on DVD by Artificial Eye, Certificate 15. Watch the trailer below: