Shalva Shengeli: Unknown Soldiers
Skrevet den 12-01-2010 10:41:52 af Tue Steen Müller
Recruit training in Georgia. From Recruit Gurchiani to Private Gurchiani. A symphathetic young man from Upper Abkhazia is the main character in this documentary from Georgia. He is followed through some months in 2008 that leads up to the Russian-Georgian war in August the same year, in the Tskhinvali region. 186 Georgian soldiers died and 58 were injured according to the film. (The much higher civilian casualties on both sides are still not officially recognized, this is not in the film). And although the film ends with images from the graves of the fallen soldiers, thus the title, it has a different aim:
To show the tough recruit training, to let the soldier Gurchiani and a couple of sergeants talk about what they do, how it feels, and why they do it. There is an understandable patriotic atmosphere but although the soldiers-to-be have T-shirts with ”army” written on the front, the training can not compete with the one, we have seen in numerous documentaries of American origin, Frederick Wiseman’s ”Basic Training” to mention one.
It is clear that the director wants us to have good feelings about what we see, and for Gurchiani, and we do have, also softened by funny sequences about the young boys going on a leave for the first time after two months, sending hopeful gazes in the direction of young females. Brilliant observational camera work. Propaganda, yes, but ok for me.
Georgia, 61 mins., 2009
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