Comets (2019)

Director: Tamar Shavgulidze
Writer: Tamar Shavgulidze
Cast: Nino Kasradze, Ketevan Gegeshidze, Nina Mazodier, Mariam Iremashvili, Ekaterine Kalatozishvili
Part of: Transition Queer Film Festival
Seen on: 20.11.2020

Nana (Ketevan Gegeshidze) enjoys a summer day with her daughter Irina (Ekaterine Kalatozishvili). When Irina goes to the shop, Nana is suprised by the visit of another Irina (Nino Kasradze): this Irina she hasn’t seen in decades, but when they were teenagers, Nana (Mariam Iremashvili) and Irina (Nina Mazodier) spent all their time together, carefully in love until Irina had to leave the country. The two women get to talking, reflecting on their youth and their lives since.

Comets has a way of catapulting you right into the feeling of a languid summer’s day that lends itself beautifully to reminisce about young, lost love. But for the last part of the film, it inexplicably changed pace by taking us to a SciFi movie-within-the-movie that I didn’t really know what to do with. Nevertheless, it’s a beauty of a film.

Adult Nana (Ketevan Gegeshidze) and Irina (Nino Kasradze) looking at each other.

What would you do if your first big love that you hadn’t seen in many years suddenly strolled into your garden? Not just your first love – the one that got away, really. I don’t know, it didn’t happen to me. But the way Nana and Irina circle each other at first, the way their every interaction is filled with longing still, the way you get the distinct impression that it would take just one little push to see them riding into the sunset together, finally happy – the film captured that beautifully and it felt very realistic.

I also really loved the way we got to see the flashbacks to the most important summer they spent together that fills in some gaps, but most importantly gives us a sense of who they were back then and how they may have changed – or not. Shavgulidze has a wonderful way of weaving those two strands of the narrative together to strengthen each other.

Teenaged Nana (Mariam Iremashvili) and Irina (Nina Mazodier) in the garden together.

And then, after I think about 60 minutes of this 70 minutes film, we see teenage Nana and Irina watch a movie. In that movie an alien and a disembodied voice, maybe another alien, have a long conversation about love while the alien tries to prevent something horrible. Or something. I’m not sure. It’s a confusing fragment of a film (that, as far as I know, doesn’t actually exist outside of this movie) that left me scratching my head about what exactly was happening on the one hand, and on the other hand, about how it relates to Nana and Irina (apart from the fact that they watch the film). The closest I’ve come to an answer is that it is very hard to talk about love and it might be easier to oursource it to aliens? But, really, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given how beautifully Nana and Irina had been talking up until that point.

It is unfortunate, then, that the film doesn’t return from its trip to the aliens, but ends with them, when I would have loved a last glimpse at Nana and Irina (that, too, can be read as a metaphor for their love, of course). But even if that last part of the film didn’t work for me, it cannot undo the beautifully acted, sensitively told story that came before it – and that makes the film absolutely worth seeing.

Teenaged Nana (Mariam Iremashvili) kissing Irina (Nina Mazodier).

Summarizing: beautiful.

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