Nutsa Gogoberidze

Scen.: Nutsa Gogoberidze. F.: Sergej Zaboslaev. Scgf.: David Kakabadze. Recorded score composed by Giorgi Tsintsadze. Prod.: Goskinprom Gruzii. DCP. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

This documentary was filmed in the Ratcha region in the North of Georgia, separated from the neighbouring Svanetia by the peaks of the Greater Caucasus. Buba is the name of a mountain village, whose ancestral poverty would be turned upside down by the arrival of Soviet power. It’s hard not to think of Salt for Svanetia, Mikhail Kalatozov’s documentary filmed the same year on the same subject, and in the nearby mountains. They also shared the same art director, painter David Kakabadze, who had been employed to build the set for Kalatozov’s Slepaya (The Blind Woman), filmed in the same region, and eventually banned. When, in superb shots, Gogoberidze shows us the storming masses of clouds above the Caucasus, or the villagers’ traditional dance, the syncopated montage has a familiar feel to it. The drive of the generation, and the thriving Georgian art scene is undeniable: for the avant-garde groups, Tbilisi was on a par with Leningrad. What is unquestionably unfair is that Salt for Svanetia is so famous and that Buba has remained invisible for decades. It bears comparison beautifully, complementing a constellation in which we also find Luis Bunuel’s Las Hurdes, made two years later. In Buba there are none of the violently discordant images to be found in its two illustrious cousins. We sense in Gogoberidze’s work her attention to and sympathy for those mountain dwellers of an old world, and, as was typical in Soviet cinema, for the children temporarily sacrificed to agricultural work, but who will build Socialism in the future.

Irène Bonnaud and Bernard Eisenschitz