Off the wall: discover Georgia’s lost cinematic legacy through these rare film posters

The first feature film was produced in Georgia as early as 1916, yet many radical films were banned under Soviet rule. A new London show uncovers this forgotten cinematic history through poster art

3 May 2018

Georgian cinema has broken so spectacularly onto the international scene in the last few years, led by a new generation of talented filmmakers and prizewinning female directors, that it’s easy to forget that the tradition of Georgian filmmaking goes back nearly as far as the history of cinema itself. The Georgian film industry emerged 100 years before Soviet rule, with the first feature film produced as early as 1916. To mark the 100th anniversary of Georgia’s Independence and celebrate the country’s cinematic legacy, an exhibition of iconic yet rarely seen Georgian film posters has opened in London, as part of the 5th London Georgian Film Festival.

During the Soviet period, many radical Georgian films such as Kote Miqaberidze’s The Grandmother (1929) were banned from distribution. These are just a few of the thirty posters curated by Nino Dzandzava from the Georgian Film Archive, that fill some of the gaps in the history of Georgian film. Bright and jazzy, these posters may recall the work of Soviet graphic artists such as the Stenberg brothers. Yet Dzandzava says these posters also reflect the tradition of Georgian painting, while others are ahead of their time in their experimentation of collage and cut-out techniques.

Cinephiles and graphic design connoisseurs should head to the Terroirs Wine Bar in London to catch the show before it closes on 8 May. For those who can’t make the show or want to learn more about Georgian cinema through its vibrant poster tradition, can help fund a printed catalogue of Georgian Cinema Posters here.

For more information about about the exhibition or to book a ticket for one of the screenings, visit the festival website here.

Top image: The Splinter (1956), dir. by Nikoloz Sanishvili