Dea Kulumbegashvili's award-winning debut feature 'Beginning' coming to Rotterdam Film Fest

  • A still from the feature that casts Ia Sukhitashvili as the principal protagonist. Photo via Cannes Film Festival., 25 Jan 2021 - 14:57, Tbilisi,Georgia

Filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili's Toronto- and San Sebastian Film Festival prize-winning feature Beginning is coming to viewers of the International Film Festival Rotterdam next month.

The director's debut feature will have its Dutch premiere with an online screening at the festival on February 4, to be followed by three days of on-demand views for those picking the films to watch from the comfort of their flats.

The film has been selected for the Limelight programme, which presents "some of the cinematic highlights of the year: eagerly anticipated festival favourites and international award-winners", festival curators said.

Beginning is the Georgian director's look at Yana, a Jehovah's Witness living in rural Georgia, where she encounters hostility from locals and law enforcement due to both her religious beliefs and her gender.

[T]his rock-solid debut deals much more in female strength than in helplessness. Blatant, brutal violence is interspersed with scenes of painterly tranquility, as Yana’s heart almost visibly hardens.

Knowing full well that she is legally, morally and emotionally signing her own death warrant, she decides to strike at the very roots of patriarchal society" - International Film Festival Rotterdam

In the Limelight selection, Kulumbegashvili finds herself in the company of acclaimed cinema personalities like director Andrei Konchalovsky (with his Dear Comrades!), while the programme also involves Quo vadis, Aida?, one of international film scene's highlights from filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić.

Her own work earned the Georgian director the San Sebastian Film Festival's principal prize in September and the FIPRESCI international film critics award at the Toronto International Film Festival the same month. It was also recognised in the filmmaker's homeland, with Beginning selected as Georgia's bid for the next Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

The feature features Ia Sukhitashvili, Rati Oneli and Kakha Kintsurashvili as protagonists, with editing by Matthieu Taponier and a score composed by internationally acclaimed producer Nicolas Jaar.