A breathtaking road movie about Samtskhe-Javakheti, an isolated region in the republic of Georgia, where Georgians and Armenians live together in suppressed hostility.
Road maps are open, endless texts that may contain any number of stories, including the story of the traveler himself. A filmmaker from the north and a photographer from the south travel to a strange place. It is a land where people are worn out by their history, where time tends to freeze, and every encounter is in the curve of a mirror that makes you look into familiar eyes.
Samtskhe-Javakheti is a region in the south of the republic of Georgia that borders both Turkey and Armenia. It’s a beautiful, rugged area where the roads are bad at the best of times, but impassable in winter when covered with huge layers of snow. Throughout history, it has been home to a large Armenian population. Although this causes continuous underlying tension, it has never led to any manifestations of violence. The Georgian photographer Daro Sulaukari set out to make a photo series here and invited director Ugis Olte to tag along. Their collaboration led to the making of a road movie that not only captures a particular region and its inhabitants, but also reflects their own personal choices. With associative, poetic and breathtaking imagery, Olte and Sulaukari convey the stories of people who appear to cross their paths arbitrarily. They meet a man at a cemetery by the grave of his ancestors who invites them to his home, where he and his two children willingly pose for Sulaukari’s camera. Somewhere in the field, three young men explain how the harsh climate and the bleak economic situation cause many young people to leave. Despite the fact that their stories are recognizable and their situations are often similar, neighbors live in discord because one of them has Armenian blood and the other Georgian.
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