Several hundred demonstrators gathered outside cinemas in Tbilisi and Batumi over the weekend to protest against the Georgian premiere of And Then We Danced, a Georgian-Swedish production with a queer love story at its core.
An LGBTQ flag was burned ahead of the premiere in the capital, while local press reported that protesters had tried to break into the cinema and set off pyrotechnics. One young woman was injured after reportedly being struck by a stone and taken to hospital. Georgian authorities detained more than 28 protesters.
One of the protest leaders, right-wing activist and former presidential Sandro Bregadze, claimed earlier last week that the film was a “propaganda for sodomy” and warned that protests would take place on the day of the screening.
Hailed as the Georgian Call Me by Your Name, And Then We Danced is directed by Swedish-Georgian filmmaker Levan Akin, and has already been put forward as Sweden’s national submission for the Oscars this year. Inspired by real experiences of queer Georgian youth, the film tells the love story between two male traditional Georgian dancers.
In an interview with The Calvert Journal in April, Akin said that the film was not strictly about sexuality, but about cultural identity. “I want [young people] to own their culture and not let these crazy bigots claim authority over what it means to be Georgian,” he said.