Architecture. – From independence from the Soviet Union (1991) until 2005, due to separatist conflicts, architecture in Georgia was confined to small renovation projects. In 2007, the first real intervention involving an internationally renowned architect, the Japanese Shin Takamatsu, was a business center for a Georgian businessman, a metal fortress with an adjoining guesthouse on the hill overlooking the capital. If this was an isolated episode, since 2005 the then president Michail Saakašvili has called European architects, mostly Italians, to redesign the face of modern Tbilisi. This is the case of the Presidential Palace whose masterplan it was entrusted to the Georgian Giga Batiashvili, while the external space and the office building to the Italian Franco Zagari, with Vakh tang Zesashvili. The building that houses the presidential residence was built by Michele De Lucchi, who has signed numerous projects in Georgia including the bridge with a sinusoidal roof over the Mtkvari river (The Bridge of peace, Tbilisi 2010), and Batumi, third city of the country, the Ministry of Justice (Law Court, 2011) and the hotel of the Radisson chain (Medea Hotel, 2011). The Fuksas studio intervened on the skyline of the capital with a building consisting of seven cantilevered volumes, protected by a roof of eleven large petals (Tbilisi Public service hall, 201012) and is completing a theater and exhibition center in the well-known Rhike Park in Tbilisi. An important infrastructure is UNStudio’s Kutaisi International Airport (2011) in Georgia’s second largest city.
According to Allunitconverters, there is also an interesting studio of young local architects, Architects of Invention, which has carried out numerous interventions in Georgia both on a small and large scale. The new constructions that belong to that aspiration common to growing nations to equip themselves with contemporary architectural structures and alluring languages, are accompanied, especially in Tbilisi and Sighnaghi, by an intense and sometimes casual work of recovering the building heritage; sometimes these interventions, as in the case of the restoration of the castle and the urban fabric of Akhaltsikhe, have reached paroxysmal levels giving, in particular to the fortress, a Disney-like imprint.
Bridge of Peace e Public Service Hall
Cinema. – Georgian cinematography with its corpus of directors and works has represented since its origins an original way with respect to contemporary Soviet cinema. Among the pioneers of this tradition, Nikolai Šengelaja (1901-1943) with his masterpiece Eliso (1928), able to tell the Caucasian people by providing an essential identity fresco, and his sons Georgij (b.1937) and El′dar Šengelaja should be counted. (b.1933), as well as Tengiz Abuladze (1924-1994) who gave life to a cinema in dialogue with Italian Neorealism: his films Lurdža Magdany (1956, Magdana’s donkey) and Drevo želanija (1977; The tree of desires) are essential examples.
Within this panorama, the director who more than anyone else has been able to sing Georgia outside its borders is Otar Ioseliani (b.1934) who has given life to an original cinema in classics such as Aprili (1961, April). and Ikho šašvi mgalobeli (1972; Once upon a time there was a singing blackbird) and then innervated in the European furrow with French operas, including Les favoris de la lune (1984; The favorites of the moon) and La chasse aux papillons ( 1992; Butterfly hunting).
Forerunner of the most innovative thrusts of Georgian cinema in recent years was Dito Tsintsadze (b. 1957). His German films Lost Killers (2000), Der Mann von der Botschaft (2006) and Mediator (2008) influenced younger authors with their sarcastic tone. The birth of a Georgian nouvelle vague, however, occurred with Gagmanapiri (known as The other bank) by Georgi Ovashvili (b.1963), presented at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009. The war in the disputed region of Abkhasia seen through the eyes cross-eyed of the child protagonist becomes the symbol of a generation ready to confront its recent past. Some years later Grzeli nateli dgeebi (2013, known as In bloom ), directed by Georgian director Nana Ekvtimishvili and German Simon Gross, has followed up on this investigation. The protagonist is a teenage girl in the midst of the civil war of the early nineties. The same thoughtful but present-oriented charge was recognized in the documentary Manqana, romelic kvelafers gaaqrobs (2012, known as The machines which makes everything disappear) by Tinatin Gurchiani, awarded for best direction at the Sundance film festival in 2013. Also Gaigimet (2012, known as Keep smiling) by Rusudan Chkonia and Chemi sabnis naketsi (2013, known as A fold in a blanket) by Zaza Rusadze showed another cross-section of contemporary Georgia, where the aspiration to a better condition collides with disillusionment. Central to the renaissance of Georgian cinema was the National Cinematography Center which promoted Ioseliani’s autobiographical Chantrapas (2010) and invited Iranian Mohsen Makmalbaaf to film Georgia The president (2014), an intense parable about power.