A man, nervous, stands in front of a blue wall with paint peeling and starts to recount his story. He would like to be an actor, he says, to play the parts of Van Damme. He is modest, to begin, then slowly, shyly, he begins to admit his many achievements: he builds houses from scratch, from architectural plans to the last tile on the roof; he races horses, and last weekend won twice and came second once; he is very good at football. Just one of the remarkable people this quiet documentary respectfully portrays.
A girl, sadness in her eyes, tells in her weariness how she is tired of everything, tired to the bone, so tired. She has only one wish: to have a cherry tree in a pot, so that she may recall her childhood, remember the times when, unable to get on with the other children, she would climb up to the safety of its branches and watch her life go by. She does not even like cherries, but this tree is all she hopes for.
Hopes and dreams are stitched to survival.
Another, let us call him character, though all these people are real, tells of a career in the military cut short by juvenile delinquency; a father killed in the Georgian-Abkhazian war in whose footsteps he had dreamed of marching; a brother in prison for a theft committed in long-ago youthful folly, yearning for a girl whose face he would no longer recognise.
It is all one can do, having seen THE MACHINE WHICH MAKES EVERYTHING DISAPPEAR, to simply recount once again the stories of these young dreamers, as Tinatin Gurchiani so sensitively does. There is no other substance to this film than the people themselves, their lives followed and their voices truly heard one senses for the very first time, but this is an approach which is refreshing and utterly compelling. Part fictionalised, a metanarrative is woven in a patchwork of frank yet tender face-to-camera conversations and richly cinematic scenes of everyday lives and landscapes. Hopes and dreams are stitched to survival. And though the casting Gurchiani called was for those aged 15-23, responses came from far and wide above and below these parameters: there were, it seems, stories welling up inside the people of Georgia, desperate to be told.