Running online and in-person from 9 February - 2 March 2023

Klassiki are proud to partner with the Georgian National Film Centre for a five-film retrospective celebrating the 90th birthday of director Eldar Shengelaia.


One of the most significant figures in Georgian cinema history, outside of his homeland Eldar Shengelaia is nonetheless the most under-appreciated of Georgia’s great directors. Emerging in the post-war period alongside fellow innovators like Tengiz Abuladze and Otar Iosseliani, Shengelaia’s stark dramas and subversive satires earned him a place in the popular imagination. Shengelaia is best-known in Georgia for his post-film career as a pro-independence politician who helped bring down the curtain on Soviet rule in the country: a remarkable second act in the life of an artist who provides an irreplaceable connection to the cultural and political legacies of the twentieth century.

Blue Mountains

Screening online from 9 February
Live at the Garden Cinema, London on 10 February
This deft satire of Soviet bureaucracy follows Soso, an aspiring novelist looking to publish his latest manuscript. It soon becomes apparent that the publishing house is staffed by a host of oblivious employees, interested in everything but literary merit. (1983, 91 mins)

“A brilliant shaggy-dog satire”: read Peter Bradshaw’s review in The Guardian.

The White Caravan

Screening online from 9 February
Live at the Garden Cinema, London on 11 February
Shengelaia’s first mature feature, co-directed with Tamaz Meliava, is a forceful, poetic take on the timeless conflict between the countryside and the city. The tragic plot centres around Gela, a young shepherd who abandons his family’s traditional way of life, as well as his young love Maria, when he succumbs to the allure of urban living. (1963, 93 mins)

An Unusual Exhibition

Screening online form 9 February
An Unusual Exhibition is a typically playful and melancholic Shengelaia work. Charting the artistic frustration and romantic elation of Aguli, a hapless sculptor forced to produce gravestones in order to support his family, Shengelaia demonstrates his tragicomic eye and poetic, even surreal compositions. (1968, 92 mins)


Screening online from 9 February
Shengelaia’s most surreal feature, the suitably-titled Eccentrics spins the tall tale of an orphan who goes to jail for the sake of his lover, and the renegade prisoner he befriends there who dreams of breaking free in a DIY helicopter. A brisk, disconcerting trip into the strange underbelly of Soviet Georgia. (1973, 79 mins)

The Chair

Screening online from 9 February
Shengelaia’s first film for 21 years is a late-career return to form that picks up the threads of his earlier satires and reconfigures them for the modern day. Centred around an ousted Refugee Eviction Minister and his magical office chair, this piquant comedy shows the same sharp eye for bureaucratic absurdity and petty politics that invigorated the director’s Soviet-era classics. (2017, 97 mins)

Eldar Shengelaia in his own words

An exclusive interview with the Georgian film icon
Eldar Shengelaia speaks exclusively to Klassiki about his distinguished career in film – from working as an assistant to his director father Nikoloz, to his views on the current crop of Georgian filmmakers.

Shengelaia at 90: experts discuss the life and times of a Georgian film icon

A roundtable panel exclusive to Klassiki
Featuring personal recollections of the filmmaker at work, and commentary on his central role in preserving and promoting Georgian cinema culture.

Interview with Dovile Sarutyte

October 4 2022
An interview with Dovile, director of 2022’s festival darling film, about making her first feature and the challenges that lie ahead.

Sign up to watch these films and more on Klassiki

Start your free seven-day trial now