Grigoris Karantinakis’s challenging debut
Stubborness and naivete are inherent in the phrase «The dream is ours and we’ll emerge from it when we wish,» as uttered by the main character in «Charitonas’s Choir.» These are elements the film’s director hoped to infuse into his movie – one that may surpass the standard of other debut films but does not avoid the faults that usually burden an emerging director’s first feature film, the most fundamental of all being saturation. Grigoris Karantinakis resisted, as much as he could, the beauty of abstractionism. You’ve got to be a master of your discipline or a great storyteller to be able to combine realism and magical realism, or, in other words, deal with events relevant to the country’s military dictatorship back in 1967 as well as the dream worlds of Iosseliani or Parajanov. One must have discipline and a solidly constructed inner world, both very well organized, to cleanly depart from surrealism. The director Karantinakis certainly possesses a solid educational background in film – he studied at Moscow’s State Film School – and has been deeply influenced by Russian and Georgian films. These aspects all serve to «remind you of something» in his debut feature film. Karantinakis reproduces without possessing the ability to render a film with a personal perspective. This ranks as the work of a good student sitting examinations. He may have had Iosseliani – this lover of life, images, and feelings – in mind, but Karantinakis chose a difficult road for which he lacks the endurance needed to cover the distance. The film is well supported by its cast.