Q&A with Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze, dir. Tradition - Clermont 2020
Thursday 6 February 2020, by
Two German tourists travel around Georgia and encounter the country’s culture, traditions and some more conservative attitudes.
A brave film in which the director’s passion for the subject and anger at the prejudices faced by many gay people in his home Country certainly come to the fore. An interesting and timely festival run, ahead of the general release of Georgian filmmaker Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced, a film centered on the growing feelings between two gay students of a Georgian traditional dance school.
More on the film...
How did you go about creating Tradition? Can you talk us through the filming processes a little?
An anti-homophobic rally was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, on May 17, 2013, the International Day Against Homophobia. The gay rights activists holding the rally were met by thousands of protestors opposing homosexuality, who were allowed to break through a police cordon and violently pursued them, beating and throwing stones at them. After that event, I understood that as an artist I must do something and I recalled a story that happened in Georgia in 2012: several Georgian men invited tourists to join them in their feast in Tusheti. After a traditional Georgian toast, including one for love, the invited guests began to passionately kiss each other on the lips. The hosts attacked the men then tied their hands and feet and threw them in the river. Local residents pulled them out of the river and helped them safely out of the mountains, from where they got to Tbilisi and subsequently left Georgia. I wrote a script with my German-Azerbaijani friend Elmar Imanov in 2013. It took us five years to get funding for this film and because of the topic of the film, it was quite hard to receive any funding from Georgia. Eventually, the film was financed by the German fund and we finally made it.
What did you want to explore in this story of these two men having to face rejection and violence because of their relation?
The film shows how the level of freedom and expression varies for different individuals. It is about the people who cannot express themselves the way they are, just because society will not accept them, who have to wear masks during whole their lives just to avoid conflicts.