16 January 2015 | sanserguz
Nature in Cinema
George Ovashvili's Corn Island is an auteuristic work that finds its balance between men and nature. Through the lives of an Abkhazian grandfather and his granddaughter, we find our place in the cycle of life. First you work the soil to feed yourself, then when you die you become part of the nature. This cycle reminds me of a Kim Ki-Duk film "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring" which is a brilliant film that attains nature from its characters' lives.
An Abkhazian peasant (Ilyas Salman) and his granddaughter (Mariam Buturishvili) are living on one of many islands created by Enguri River, the river stands as boundary between Abkhazia and Georgia. As they try to harvest enough corn to survive the winter, conflicts from outer world affects their lives. Girl finds a wounded soldier who have hidden himself in the corn plants. Old man and his granddaughter helps and hides him while his enemies searches for him. Conflict between two small groups of soldiers is an effective use of minimalism on clashes between Abkhazia and Georgia. But the film does not touch political issues, it takes the subject with an artistic point of view.
Old man has a lot of resemblances with titular character of Akira Kurosawa's "Dersu Uzala" as they both are living close to nature and away from "human". That made the watching interesting for me as I like Dersu Uzala and I think secluded characters are profound features of a film in terms of spirituality.
Generally I think director/co-screenwriter George Ovashvili take inspiration from directors Akira Kurosawa, Kim Ki-Duk and Jean Renoir (La Grande Illusion). Film has nearly no dialogue yet the cinematography of the film by Elemér Ragályi seemed like it was talking with images, I think Ragályi has a style close to Emmanuel Lubezki and Christian Berger.
It is not a masterpiece but this slow-burning film has a somber beauty, art-house fans will like it.