A review of Comets ahead of the Femspectives Film Festival
“The film considers the complexities of two teenage girls exploring their sexuality while living in a sheltered community”
This weekend (23-25 April 2021) marks the third annual Femspectives Film Festival, an event providing a platform for feminist storytelling and conversations around social issues and politics.We’re taking a closer look at one of the items on its line-up, and one of our highlights, Comets by Tamar Shavgulidze, a film about first loves and forbidden crushes.
Slow-paced, tender and with just a sprinkle of sci-fi, Comets tells the story of Nana and Irina, two middle-aged women who knew each other as teenagers and finally reunite after years of being apart.
Set in a small countryside town in Georgia, a country bordering Azerbaijan and Russia, the film considers the complexities of two teenage girls exploring their sexuality while living in a sheltered community.
Their story is told through a series of flashbacks, and we slowly learn that Nana and Irina’s relationship used to be a romantic one that they were forced to keep a secret. But, it inevitably comes to an end when their conservative neighbours learn of their love after watching them share a kiss at a birthday party.
After this controversy, the pair apparently drift from one another. Irina flees the town to work and study in Krakow, and Nana goes on to marry a man and have two children.
The film flits effortlessly between past and present as the pair reacquaint themselves over coffee in Nana’s garden. Shavgulidze’s treatment of these flashbacks, however, makes them feel more like memories, thoughts or reflections as the women contemplate all that has changed between them.
First loves and forbidden crushes: Irina and Nana in Comets
Comets is simple in its structure, and not much happens in terms of plot apart from a long conversation between two people who once knew each other. However, thanks to the brilliant writing and constant reference to the past, this feels bigger than a simple conversation. Through their dialogue, we start to feel the weight of Nana and Irina’s history and the impact it has had on their lives.
“Everything will start over again”
You can’t help but feel slightly disappointed by the end of the film as there is no real resolution. We know Irina has left the taxi running outside, but we don’t know whether she plans to leave or stay now that she is reunited with Nana.
The pair have just shared their first intimate moment in decades when they are interrupted by Nana’s daughter, also called Irina, and the film spins off into a sci-fi direction, denying us a conclusion.Nana and her daughter Irina, played by Ekaterine Kalatozishvili
Although you kind of feel cheated after having invested nearly an hour in these stories without getting a clear ending, it makes sense that Shavgulidze wants the viewer to have their own ideas of what will happen to Nana and Irina.
The otherworldly aspect to the film also feels like the perfect analogy of their love, something unable to exist in their reality.
In the end, we are left with the quote, “Everything will start over again,” which gives us some sort of hope for our star-crossed lovers.
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