And Then We Danced
Director: Levan Akin
Stars: Levan Gelbakhiani, Bachi Valishvili, Giorgi Tsereteli, Ana JavakishviliSwedish-Georgian director Akin’s picture, which charts the romance between two traditional Georgian dancers, hits all the rote narrative beats, but is elevated by the novel setting and soulful central performance. Merab (Gelbakhiani) is a talented dance student who lives in a small apartment with his family, his ex-dancer parents and his more unruly dance student brother David (Tsereteli). He is ‘more or less’ in a relationship with his long-time dance partner Mary (Javakishvili). When a new dancer, the cocky Irakli (Valishvili) turns up at the school, Merab’s life is turned upside down, and, despite Irakli threatening to rob him of his ambition to be chief dancer, Merab feels an irresistible pull toward him. The ensuing plot revelations and drama will be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in recent gay dramas (there’s more than a whiff of ‘Dirty Dancing’ too), but the depiction of Georgian life and traditions is genuinely interesting (‘there is no sexuality in Georgian dance’ a teacher amusingly tells Merab in an early sequence), while Gelbakhiani, in addition to being a very skilled hoofer, is in possession of an extraordinarily expressive face. The dancing scenes are pretty great too.