Otar Iosseliani

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Otar Iosseliani (born in 1934) is a Georgian-French film maker. Otar Iosseliani has released over 20 films, some of which were presented at the Film Festivals in Cannes and Berlin. In 1995 he was a member of the jury at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.

WINTER SONG (CHANT D’HIVER)

The 81-year-old filmmaker’s first feature since 2010’s “Chantrapa,” Iosseliani’s narrative eventually settles into a disarming buddy comedy featuring two older men (Amiran Amiranashvili and legendary French funny man Pierre Étaix). The duo find themselves caught between their rebellious tendencies — spying on neighbors, participating in protests — and their youthful energy as they wander around town engaging in various misadventures.

From the confines of this disarming scenario, Iosseliani builds a spellbinding world, where the seemingly barren wall of a building can suddenly develop a magical door to an outdoor wonderland, and top hats can flutter down the street in harmony following a gust of wind. The loose set of events intersect at various satisfying points, with the ambivalence of a local despot having a direct impact on the fate of the movie’s doleful protagonists, but “Winter Song” largely resists narrow storytelling methods in favor of countless digressions.

Iosseliani’s indelible style connects the dots between the visual gags of silent slapstick maestro Buster Keaton and the aural innovations that Jacques Tati brought to the table. The director’s largely static framings and deadpan storytelling has a kinship with Sweden’s Roy Andersson. Mostly, though, “Winter Song” belongs to Iosseliani’s own spiraling filmography, which covers more than five decades.

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