A refreshingly optimistic, humorous, captivating, and deeply humanist portrait of perseverance and family, Julie Bertuccelli’s Since Otar Left centers on three generations of women – the inimitable grandmother, Eka (Esther Gorintin) who wistfully reminisces over life under Stalin, her widowed daughter Marina (Nino Khomassouridze), and her multilingual, well-educated granddaughter Ada (Dinara Droukarova) – living under the economic austerity and minor inconveniences of unreliable utilities in the nascent republic of post-communist Georgia. Their seemingly only source of hope and comfort occur in the form of occasional letters and telephone calls from Marina’s brother Otar, a doctor working menial, temporary jobs as an undocumented laborer in France who, nevertheless, manages to paint a rosy and idyllic picture of his life abroad. Attempting to shelter the amusingly dotty Eka from the harsh realities of her children’s impoverishment, the family weaves an ever-increasingly intricate web of deception to spare the old woman from disappointment and heartbreak in this beautifully understated and affectionate film.
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