24 August 2006 | CaptEcco
A rare, hysterical gem from early Soviet cinema
CHEMI BEBIA (MY GRANDMOTHER) is a Georgian avant-garde slapstick silent comedy that was banned in the Soviet Union for almost 50 years. And it's pretty easy to see why. Whereas later Georgian filmmakers became rather adept at slipping political criticism under the noses of the Soviet censors, this film ends with a completely unambiguous rallying call for the death of bureaucrats. Lots of the creative techniques one associates with early Soviet cinema are on display here, but they are filtered through a sieve of early American slapstick and used mostly (and most successfully) for comedy. Imagine Harold Lloyd starring in Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL and you'll start to get an idea of what MY GRANDMOTHER is like. It's hilarious, and historically it's interesting to watch in that it's just as politically obvious as any other early Soviet film, but in an entirely different way.