A portrait of the megalomaniac project of a Georgian billionaire, former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, and his elitist passion for collecting centuries-old trees from around the country.
Taming the Garden, by Salomé Jashi. Georgia. 2021. 84’. Original soundtrack with Spanish subtitles.
Capitalism in its rawest form: the power of a single man who tries to subject nature to his own whims by uprooting centuries-old trees along the Georgian coast and replanting them in his private garden, even if it means mobilising dozens of workers and machines, dismantling power lines, tarmacking dirt tracks and chartering cargo ships. Although the trees have enormous significance and symbolism for their local communities, they become consumer products, causing divisions among the villagers because of the enormous sums of money paid for them.
The powerful painterly images and sequencing in Taming the Garden create some sublime surrealist moments.
Salomé Jashi (Georgia, 1981) has a degree from the national university in Tbilisi , where she specialised in journalism and new media. After working for several years as a journalist for Georgian Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2, she relocated to London to take a master's course in documentary film and subsequently embarked on her career as a director. Her most important titles include The Dazzling Light of Sunset (2016), which won an accolade at the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (Czech Republic), and Taming the Garden, which was premiered at Sundance (USA) and has won awards at festivals like Cinéma du réel (France) and Ficunam (Mexico).
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