(Release Info London schedule; March 13th, 2020, ArtHouse Crouch End, 159A Tottenham Ln, Crouch End, London N8 9BT, United Kingdom, 6:20pm)
"And Then We Danced"
A passionate coming-of age tale set amidst the conservative confines of modern Tbilisi, "And Then We Danced" follows Merab (Levan Gelbakhiami), a competitive dancer who's thrown off balance by the arrival of Irakli. (Bachi Valishvili), a fellow male dancer with a rebellious streak.
A passionate tale of love and liberation set amidst the conservative confines of modern 'Georgian' society, "And Then We Danced" follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary (Ana Javakishvili) for a spot in 'The National Georgian Ensemble'. His world is suddenly turned upside down when the charismatic and carefree Irakli arrives and becomes both his strongest rival and desire. The arrival of Irakli, gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak, throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family. In this conservative setting Merab finds himself having to break free and risk it all.
In Georgia there are three things that are upheld as the paragon of 'Georgian Tradition' and 'National Identity'; 'The Church', 'The Traditional Polyphonic Singing', and 'The Traditional National Dance'. This film is about the traditional 'Georgian' dance culture. It has a very large role. The lead person we follow in the film is a dancer and we imagine being him in an alternate reality. It's a story of how gender conservative and strict 'The Georgian Dance' scene is. 'The Georgian Dance' represents the old and the burgeoning love between two of the dancers represent the new. Homosexualiy is a big problem in 'Georgian' dance. The real lives of the people in the film and what’s going on in Georgia now affects the story. It's ever evolving. Telling the story of young 'LGBT' people and their struggles on a smaller scale but also showing the history and situation of Georgia today on a larger scale. All children in Georgia go to dance classes from a very young age, just like perhaps 'Karate' plays a large part in 'Japanese' culture. The inclusion of 'Georgian' dance in the film comes from the interviews with Georgian's dancers. That dance plays a great part in 'Georgian' history and culture. To juxtapose the traditional with the new 'Georgian' dance is an obvious choice for the film. This film is not only a very interesting look into a part of the world not so many people are familiar with but also a heartfelt movie about the importance of being free. Love stories in their different forms can catch us off guard. The world of the traditional dance as a micromodel of society.
When we witnessed some brave kids trying to have a pride parade in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2013 be attacked by a mob of thousands organized by 'The Orthodox Church', we've to address this issue in some way. Everything is based on real stories. The young generation now is like any kid anywhere in the world, everything is globalized and they grow up with the same pop culture. However, in Georgia there's a great divide between this generation and the older generation who lived during 'The USSR'. The circumstance that Georgia and other former 'USSR' countries are in at the moment is very fragile. All of these countries are unique, of course, and in Georgia’s case the strong ancient traditional values play a large part in the current situation. Western values are considered a threat to 'The Old Georgian' ways. And for a country that has been conquered over and over again throughout the centuries, keeping their cultural identity becomes a matter of survival. 'The Georgian' language, their ancient alphabet, wine culture and food culture etc. are extremely important for them. We've a differences of opinions and flaring tempers is the norm.
Confines of tradition and forbidden love. People are getting more tolerant towards the questions of gender and sexualities worldwide. In many ways it seems as if we're going backwards in many 'European' countries. It seems the polar opposite sides are becoming more severe regarding these types of questions everywhere in the world. The film shows that even though you open up and move into a different direction you can still own and keep your traditions. "And Then We Danced" tracks the intensity of desire brilliantly through the leaps and whirls of the dance steps. The fluidity and sensuality of the film is quite impressive. In a world in which the golden rule is submission, 'The Georgian' dance cannot be or express anything else but virility. And what happens when a teenager’s first crush meets beliefs that deny him the right to happiness? A disconcerting romance set against a wave of conservatism in Georgia that preaches tolerance to difference.