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Best of MDR 2014
Biblioteka – Von Büchern, einsamen Frauen und einem Leser Ana Tsimintia

They gossip, scream, hammer away on a piano, eat, drink, and bang doors. And there are more librarians than readers in this small Georgian library.

Biblioteka – Von Büchern, einsamen Frauen und einem Leser

Documentary Film
54 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mikheil Svanidze, Bernardas Andriushis, Ana Tsimintia
Ana Tsimintia
Nika Pasuri
Ana Tsimintia
Ana Tsimintia, Bernardas Andriushis
Ana Tsimintia
Sigitas Motoras
Dr. Claudia Schreiner
There must be more fulfilling jobs than being a librarian in the municipal library of Zugdidi in Georgia. Actually, from what “Biblioteka” shows one would not even assume that these women are working and that their workplace is a library. The number of employees seems to exceed the number of visitors by far. They chat, gossip and scream, someone is hammering away on a piano, people are eating and drinking in the reading rooms, doors are banged – high drama in an institute that ought to be filled with silence and concentration. All these unusual and agitated goings-on cover up the real state of the library. But the short breaks in the racket or the views of the frequently decrepit rooms with their crumbling plaster and bare concrete floors reveal that this place is an anachronism, a remnant of another system, another age. Its only remaining function may be as a meeting point for the librarians, who wouldn’t be more than remnants themselves without this place.
International Programme 2014
The Ruler Shalva Shengeli

A village in Georgia, a nunnery and a statue of Stalin. Should it make way for the nuns or will it be allowed to remain standing? Murderer, opponent of religion or good old father Stalin? An absurd comedy.

The Ruler

Documentary Film
53 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nino Chutkerashvili
Shalva Shengeli
Zurab Javakhia
Giorgi Sigua
Beka Gersamia
Shalva Shengeli, Nino Chutkerashvili
Paata Godziashvili
Stalin and the church? In the Georgian village of Tsromi, he is standing about in front of it. It’s true, his aura is flaking, his right hand and his former empire are gone and his eyes only roam over the cows and geese on the dusty village street – but then again, people left him alone for half a century. Until the day a convent claims not only the former house of culture but the church and its yard, and Stalin is to be removed. Emotions are running high: can you expect the nuns to practically share a roof with a man who fought an acrimonious battle against religion? But wasn’t the kolkhoz named after him and wasn’t everything better then? Was he a murderer? Didn’t all the village girls fall in love with him when he visited Tsromi once? Is it time to do penance – or wouldn’t a dance club be better than a convent?
Shalva Shengeli circles a myth in picturesque images and with the absurd humour of Georgian comedies. In the realm of “homo sovieticus”, where “leaders” were glorified as religious figures of light, where pictures of Stalin are put next to icons today and the orthodox Church recently published a Stalin calendar, he asks how people deal with the past when the present doesn’t look too rosy. Father Stalin in the meantime gets a new hand to show his people the way …
Grit Lemke