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Teaching Materials

Short Films by Misha Kobakhidze


Misha Kobakhidze’s black-and-white, silent film filmography consists with three short films: Wedding, Umbrella, Musicians. In thematically and genre-wise different films, everyone will find a work interesting to him/her.

20th century, Georgia of the 1960s.

  • Mikheil Kobakhidze is one of the directors who have taken an important place in Georgian cinema. He received his film education at the Faculty of Film Directing of the Moscow Institute of Cinematography. His teacher was the famous Russian (Soviet) director Sergei Gerasimov. In 1965 he created the diploma work “Eight and a Half”, which was destroyed by Soviet censorship.
  • The 1960s were the “golden age” of his work: in 1964 he made his short film “Wedding”, in 1967 “Umbrella” and in 1969 “Musicians”. After that, Mikheil Kobakhidze was banned from making films independently by the decision of the State Committee for Cinematography (Moscow). Director was only able to make his last short film, “On the Road”, in 2002. Mikheil Kobakhidze himself is the screenwriter of all his films.
  • In one of the interviews, the director says: “When I finished working on the umbrella, I wanted to make a film where there would be neither time nor space. There should not have been any wide or medium shots in the film. I was very interested in the result of this experiment, I was banned from working as a director after this film and I was fired for 30 years. “
  • All Mikheil Kobakhidze’s works are short, black and white, films. What do you think was the reason of this?
  • Georgian cinema of the 1960s is characterized by other stylistic-genre-thematic findings, Misha Kobakhidze is a “rebel” who creates his own world, as if “retro” style returns to its modernity, most importantly, his films do not lose relevance in the 21st century. What do you think is the reason of this?
  • Critics often discuss about what the “Umbrella” is a symbol of, what it expresses for you?
  • Gogi Kavtaradze’s imagination in “Wedding” does not match reality, what is the main message of “Wedding”? Why does the character fail to carry out the plan? Would you change the ending of the film?
  • To what extent can we call the characters of Misha Kobakhidze’s works real and unreal?
  • Humor is a necessary part of Misha Kobakhidze’s filmography, while when the imaginary “bride” of a boy marries other man, scene makes us smile with sadness. If we bring the story of “wedding” to real life, would we look at the ending with humor?
  • “Musicians” are completely different people: characters, appearance, behavior, even instruments they play on are different. What did the director mean by this film? What metaphorical messages does the author present in the film?
  • All Mikheil Kobakhidze’s films are silent! You will not find dialogues here, music is the main thing that creates the mood and the background expressing emotions of the characters. Despite the “silent cinema” space, the story of each film becomes understandable to audience. How does the director manage to achieve this?

Write about this film
Given the epoch-making context and issues raised during the discussion, focus on the artist and his era when writing about the film! The Georgian cinema of the 1960s was a time when the whole world started talking about the phenomenon of Georgian cinema. Metaphorical, symbolic and humorous creativity of Mikhail Kobakhidze is a worthy part of this event. Try to connect his films with his personality and era. “Wedding” “Umbrella” “Musicians” in metaphorical, symbolic language tell us about the feelings of the heroes and their desires. Think about the cinematic ways the director presents all of this in the film. Does the director’s latest film, On the Road, reflect the path that the author has traveled, think about how the short film reveals biographical passages? In the process of writing a review, try to discuss all his films, what expressive techniques the Georgian director focuses on, what topics and problems he is interested in.

For Individual work
Mikhail Kobakhidze had a tragic artistic and personal life: first, the censors forbade filming, and then, in the early 1980s, the Soviet regime executed his son Gega Kobakhidze. After that, the Georgian director moved from Georgia to France. Find additional information about the Soviet censorship of the 1960s, try to analyze which artists posed a threat to the regime and why, based on theoretical materials. In addition, in order to better understand the Soviet reality of the 1980s, we recommend reading “Flight from the USSR” by Dato Turashvili, which tells the tragic story of Misha Kobakhidze’s son Gega Kobakhidze and his friends.

Group work/additional activities
In the late 1960s, Mikhail Kobakhidze was deliberately removed from the cinema. During group work, discuss what might be causing this? What threat did the Soviet censorship see in his films? How difficult it is for an artist to freely express his opinion under a totalitarian regime through a film, literary work or painting. Reflect on the works of Georgian directors of the 1960s in the context of world cinema of that times, why did not Western culture face such problems?

Additional activities:
After discussion and group work, students can visualize the narrative material. Create a wall newspaper or presentation individually or in groups about Georgian cinema of the 1960s, films, directors and topics. Try to use visual materials from the works of Georgian artists.

Expected Result

As a result of watching short films, discussing and reviewing them, in which it is necessary to use epoch-making contexts and the above-mentioned recommendations, students will learn more about the Georgian cinema of the 1960s and filmography of Mikheil Kobakhidze.

Wedding (1964)

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