London’s Tate Modern is hosting the UK premiere of Raving Riot, a feature film on the ‘dance protests’ that swept Tbilisi in May 2018.
When Georgian police carried out aggressive drug raids in Tbilisi’s now-legendary nightclub, Bassiani, as well as Cafe Gallery, party-goers and other young Georgians turned up to the parliament building in their thousands.
“We decided to make a movie about what remained beyond the news and beautiful pictures and explore the generation that made that protest possible,” writes Stepan Polivanov, the 25-year-old Russian director behind the film.
The ‘Raveolution’, as it became known, saw protesters dance outside the Georgian government building and hold signs with the slogan: “We dance together, we fight together.”
The situation in Tbilisi reminded Polivanov of the heavy-handed police arrests at Moscow’s DIY techno club Rabitza in August 2017. Unlike the Moscow police raids, however, which saw the club close down, in Tbilisi the authorities were met with resistance, and both clubs still play host to hundreds of clubbers every week. Polivanov wanted to find out what made the Georgian response so different.
“This is a coming-of-age story of people who have become aware of themselves being a political force and having a voice, but do not yet understand what to do with it,” he wrote.