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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feb 2 -Today is Otar Iosseliani's Birthday

Born:February 2, 1934 in Tbilisi, Georgia, USSR
Occupation:Actor, Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Worked With

Otar Iosseliani was born in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, where he studied at the State Conservatory and graduated in 1952 with a diploma in composition, conducting and piano. In 1953 he went to Moscow to study at the faculty of mathematics, but in two years he quit and entered the State Film Institute (VGIK) where his teachers were Alexander Dovzhenko and Mikhail Chiaureli. While still a student, he began working at the Gruziafilm studios in Tbilisi, first as an assistant director and then as an editor of documentaries. In 1958 he directed his first short film Akvarel. In 1961 he graduated from VGIK with a diploma in film direction. When his medium-length film Aprili (1961) was denied theatrical distribution, Iosseliani abandoned filmmaking and in 1963-1965 worked first as a sailor on a fishing boat and then at the Rustavi metallurgical factory. Aprili was finally released only in 1972. In 1966 he directed his first feature film Giorgobistve that was presented at the Critics' Week at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival and won a FIPRESCI award there. When his 1976 film Pastorali was shelved for a few years and then granted only a limited distribution, Iosseliani grew skeptical about getting any artistic freedom in his homeland. Following Pastorali's success at the 1982 Berlin Film Festival, the director moved to France where in 1984 he made Les Favoris de la Lune. The film was distinguished with a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Since then Venice became a showcase for all his subsequent films. In 1989 he again received a Special Jury Prize for Et la Lumiere Fut and in 1992 the Pasinetti Award for Best Direction for La Chasse aux Papillons. After the disruption of the Soviet Union he continued to work in France where he made the documentary Seule Georgie (1994) which was followed by the sardonic and allegorical Brigands - Chapitre VII (1996). ~ Yuri German, Rovi

Otar Iosseliani's  Chantrapas (released in 2010): An artist finds that creative freedom is far more elusive than he imagined in this satirical comedy-drama from writer and director Otar Iosseliani. Niko (Dato Tarielashvili) is a talented but hard-headed Georgian filmmaker working in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. Niko is determined to make his own films his own way, but as he butts heads with official censors and state-appointed producers, that isn't a simple matter. Working at home is all but impossible as he's constantly interrupted by his grandparents, and while his colleagues on the set and in the editing room are loyal, they often have to step in to help fight his battles over the content of his work. Fed up with the Soviet way of filmmaking, Niko leaves Georgia and immigrates to France, where a producer (Pierre Etaix) offers him a chance to use his talents in Europe. It isn't long before Niko realizes he's simply traded one sort of creative interference for another. Inspired in part by Iosseliani's own experiences, Chantrapas (the name comes from a Russian phrase for a stubborn ne'er-do-well) was an official selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi