Rotterdam Film Festival to screen final film by late Zaza Khalvashi

The late director cast actors from the Batumi Theatre of Georgia's Black Sea city in his final work. Photo via IFFR, 23 Dec 2022 - 14:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

Drawing Lots, the final film by the late Georgian director Zaza Khalvashi, will have its world premiere by screening in competition at this year's International Film Festival Rotterdam that opens in the Dutch city next month.

The feature, set to release next year, has been selected for the Big Screen Competition of the popular festival that hosted 177,267 online and 3,370 in-person visits from cinephiles, in addition to involving over 1,500 film professionals.

The Georgian-Lithuanian co-production was completed following the passing away of the director during the production, and brings to the screens a look at a seaside community and interactions between its members in black-and-white form.

Through the daily moments of individual lives, romance between residents and communal support, the director's lens follow solo figures and family units in an apartment block of the locality.

Khalvashi masterfully offers the audience only glimpses into the secrets and dreams of the apartment complex’s everyday figures: a melodramatic electric guitarist, unrequited love-struck teenagers, a classical violinist in a mid-life crisis, and a recently returned criminal

- summary from festival

The lens of the black-and-white feature is trained on individuals and family units in an apartment block of a seaside locality, their daily lives and interactions. Photo via IFFR

IFFR organisers have drawn parallels between Drawing Lots and "misplaced climaxes of petty neighbourhood scheming and idiosyncratic localities distinctive of Béla Tarr’s films, and the deadpan undertones captured across Aki Kaurismäki’s oeuvre", in reference to works by the two celebrated filmmakers.

Featuring a cast involving Inga Jakhutashvili, Guladi Goguadze, Leila Bibineishvili, Anri Mutidze and Omar Beridze, the feature was produced through cinematography by the American Society of Cinematographers award-winning Giorgi Shvelidze.

It also features editing from Levan Kukhashvili, score by Minco Eggersman and production efforts from Sulkhan Turmanidze, Ieva Norviliene and Tekla Machavariani.

The premiere of Drawing Lots at the Rotterdam event will pay homage to Khalvashi, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 62. Recognition of the director's work included the selection of his feature Namme as Georgia's contender for the 2019 Academy Award.

This year's Rotterdam Film Festival will run between January 25-February 5.