HostagesBerlin Film Festival 2017
Provocative and compelling, Hostages is a historical drama retelling the 1983 hijacking of a Georgian plane while en route from Tbilisi to Leningrad. The film engages the audience with a sombre linear narrative to arrive at a tragic destination. Director Rezo Gigineishvili evokes the importance of the desire for freedom, with appropriately dismal but accurate visuals representing the setting in the Georgian Soviet Socialist republic of 1983, and just to what extent our predecessors have lost in order to fight for it.
Hostages intentionally opens with a stark use of symbolism for political freedom: a young group of Georgians taking a dip in the Black sea, listening to the Beatles. The film makes it easy to relate to the fierce desire of these people to live in a non-communist world. However, the way the border guards are closely watching them gives us a harsh reminder that such a lifestyle was only a dream in these Soviet Socialist times.
In an intense scene between Nika (Irakli Kvirikadze) and his father, we can identify with the plight of the determined young hijackers, as the disappointing acceptance of the communist lifestyle by Nika’s father allows the audience to feel empathetic encouragement for the inevitably tragic but desperate act that is about to follow. Kvirikadze’s fervently performed characterisation of Nika repeatedly mirrors our own worries for the planned hijacking, reminding viewers that the violent struggle for freedom for a life in western culture was only too real, and horrifyingly necessary.
Careful acting and historical awareness are present throughout, with a well-developed storyline resulting in an important historical recognition: middle class parents failed – arguably representing the society at the time – and were distraught by a barbaric social system. A non-progressive ending in the attitudes of the civilians and peers of the young hijackers’ fate evokes the sobering realisation that oppression in the non-western world is not easily overcome, albeit held back by the lack of bravery and tragically romantic ideas and desire for social and political progression by the majority of society, represented in Hostages by the middle class.
Hostages does not have a UK release date yet.
For further information about the 67th Berlin Film Festival visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.