Watch Georgia’s 2021 Oscar entry, now available to stream online

Watch Georgia’s 2021 Oscar entry, now available to stream online
Still from Beginning (2020)

29 January 2021

Beginning, Georgia’s nomination for the 93rd Academy Awards, is now available to stream on MUBI.

Directed by first-time helmer Dea Kulumbegashvill, the much-anticipated arthouse film tells the story of Yana, the wife of the religious leader in a community of Jehovah’s Witnesses in rural Georgia. In Beginning’s Tarkovskian opening shot, the community’s Kingdom Hall burns down while believers watch powerlessly. The camera then follows Yana’s inner struggles as she navigates her marriage and the patriarchal community, as the fire unleashes chaos in the village.

Shot in luminous 35mm, the film’s boldly long takes and static scenes give the viewer a god-like, omniscient perspective In terms of cinematography, nature takes centre stage. In one enveloping seven-minute shot of Yana laying down on a field, the camera watches unblinkingly, intensifying the viewer’s journey across the emotions of a woman alienated from her society.

In its recent festival run, Kulumbegashvili was lauded by critics and audiences worldwide. Beginning was a special hit when it was released in September 2020 at the San Sebastián Film Festival, where — in front of a jury led by prestigious filmmaker Luca Guadagnino — it scooped the festival’s top prize, the Golden Shell, as well as Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. After being put forward as the Georgian submission to the 2021 Oscars, the film is now hoped to become a contender for the shortlist, earning the country its second ever nomination after A Chef in Love, by Nana Gordadze, in 1996.

The film will be available to stream for 30 days in North America, the UK, Ireland, Germany, India, Turkey, and Latin America.

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