Scen.: Siko Palavandišvili. F.: Vladislav Poznan’. Scgf.: Šalva Mamaladze. Int.: Grigol Gabelašvili (Varden), Kote Andronikašvili (il pastore), Kirile Mačaradze (il vecchio fabbro), Aleksandra Toidze (sua figlia), Il’ja Mamporja (Galaktion), Arkadij Chintibidze (il sordomuto). Prod.: Lenfilm. 35mm. D.: 90’. Bn.
Sound systems in the Soviet Republics were very weak. Even in such major cinematic areas as Ukraine and Georgia most of the talking pictures in the mid- 1930s sounded just like the first experiments of 1929. Some directors found it reasonable to continue making silents all the way to 1935-36. Pridanoe Žužuny is a comedy about horse-thieves, collective farms and love. It was the directorial debut of Siko Palavandišvili, a former silent film star and assistant to Michail Kalatozov on the legendary Sol’ Svanetii (Salt for Svanetia, 1930). There was a dichotomy in Georgian cinema: one tendency was to apply the newest editing and camera techniques to conventional ethnographic melodramas, the other was to plunge into radical, avant-garde experiments of all sorts (by the end of the 1920s Georgia became one of the centers of the Soviet avant-garde, there was much more freedom away from Moscow). Palavandišvili belonged to both wings: as a melodramatic actor he was with the ‘traditionalists’, as Kalatozov’s assistant and an admirer of Ėjzenštejn he was accepted by the ‘experimentalists’. In his first feature film Palavandišvili tried to blend both schools. There is ethnographic exoticism and melodrama in Pridanoe Žužuny – demonstrated thoroughly, only to be mocked. But mocked not at all for the sake of symbols, rapid cutting, or extravagant angle shots as in Sol’ Svanetii (Salt for Svanetia). What makes Pridanoe Žužuny such an attractive film is its complete lack of pathos, national or social, Georgian or Russian. There is no slapstick whatsoever, practically no gags. Yet it’s a comedy, and a funny one. Slightly sentimental irony was the tone Palavandišvili chose for his film. It helped filter out the absurdities of life and destroy them with common sense. This film set the standards for a long tradition of Georgian comedies. Palavandišvili himself did not witness the development of this style. Two months before Pridanoe Žužuny was released, torn by unrequited love, he committed suicide. The obituary in the main trade newspaper “Kino” was written by Ėjzenštejn.