Georgia, 2010, 85 minutes
Wed, Apr 28 / 8:20 / PFA / SUSA28P
Fri, Apr 30 / 6:30 / Kabuki / SUSA30K
Sat, May 01 / 3:15 / Clay / SUSA01Y
Susa is a 12-year-old boy. Like any other boy, he likes to collect stickers with images of cars and puts pieces of colorful stained glass to creative use. But with his father away, Susa is forced to navigate the adult world. To help make ends meet, he delivers vodka from the illegal distillery where his mother works. Making his way into town from the outskirts of Tbilisi, he contends with both local thugs and the police as he traverses markets stalls and cheap cafes, supplying a regular clientele of shop owners, prostitutes and drunks. Only the imminent return of his father promises some kind of hope of a return to a life that Susa can barely remember. In this deceptively simple first feature, director Rusudan Pirveli shows a fine eye for atmosphere and detail, the run-down buildings and muddy roads silently setting the tone for Susa’s hardscrabble life and each character cast with evocative precision. Avtandil Tetradze gives a remarkably natural performance in his first role, small glimmers of vulnerability and yearning barely tamped down beneath the toughening surface of a child forced to grow up too soon. In its understated neorealist approach, this examination of the necessity and treachery of hope in a drab existence avoids pathos for a more genuine and wrenching catharsis.
New Directors Prize Contender. North American Premiere.