Abkhazia, 1992. While the Abkhaz-Georgian War engulfs the region, two Estonian farmers harvest their annual crop of tangerines. The pair are the only two people left in their village, after their former fellow inhabitants fled the impending threat of violence. One day, two wounded fighters — one a Chechen mercenary fighting for the Abkhazian separatists, the other, a Georgian from the other side of the frontline — turn up on their land, injured, but still eager to avenge their fallen comrades. As the two farmers nurse them back to health, national tensions arise and then wane, and in the process, all four come to learn about human frailty and the hope of atonement. Sparse in words, but full of eloquent silences, Zaza Urushadze’s Tangerines, which won the director an Oscar nomination in 2015, masterfully captures the absurdity and violence of war, as embodied in two people from opposite sides of a conflict. A tale of pacifism against the backdrop of war, Tangerines is a brilliant exploration of the tensions between national and individual identity, and a heartening take on human nature.
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