Cinematic table chatter: "Beautiful Helen" review

English Daily #1
BEAUTIFUL HELEN (2022) / Yerevan Premiere
George Ovashvili
11.07 17:00 Moscow Cinema, Red Hall

Helen, a student who at the age of 25 still retains the youthful appearance of a teenager, returns to Tbilisi after graduating from film school in New York. This marks the beginning of Beautiful Helen, a film directed by Georgian filmmaker George Ovashvili, whose three most recent feature-length films, Khibula (2017), Corn Island (2014), and The Other Bank (2007), have all appeared in different programs of Golden Apricot in the past. Fiery red-haired Helen is an ambitious and independent spirit, always inclined to go against the flow, which might include her perpetually and unnecessarily anxious mother, a grandmother who persistently nudges her towards marriage, a dull suitor employed at a bank, and a friend trapped in an unhappy relationship. Soon our protagonist crosses paths with Gabo, a once successful but now forgotten director, and starts working on the script for his latest film — an exploration of the director's own creative crisis. Together, they embark on a journey, both physical and spiritual, which will eventually blur the boundaries between reality and fiction creating more and more stories within a larger narrative.

Mostly unfolding through conversations that take place at the table, the film unveils the intricate stories of its characters, their hopes, fears, and perspectives on life and art. Woven throughout the narrative like a crimson thread is the contemplation of suicide — a subject that intermittently emerges but is ultimately discarded as the sole resolution to the oppressive reality. In the face of overwhelming pessimism, the narrative delves into the depths of failure and the artist's existential crisis, where the creation of fictional heroes becomes a means to combat loneliness.

Sona Karapoghosyan