Father grapples with son’s debt in Levan Koguashvili’s Spry ‘Brighton 4th’ – The Moveable Fest

Opera singer

“You must hit me unexpectedly and act like nothing has happened”, Kakhi (Levan Tedaishvili) giving his son’s girlfriend Lena (Nadezhda Mikhalkov) a wrestling lesson in “Brighton 4th”, the comedy-drama seductive by Levan Koguashvili in which the deepest moments have a way of sneaking up on you. Under the eternally gray sky of Brighton Beach making it seem like there is always weight on them, Kakhi would seem to know a thing or two about taking advantage of the toughest foes in the ring and as a former champion. from Georgia, something that will come in handy in America where he has settled to get his son Soso (Giorgi Tabidze) out of debt to a low level gangster. But family obligation can be just as much of an opportunity for the now retired wrestler, who may miss his wife at home but not much else as a routine life doesn’t suit him well.

That’s a good thing because of the surprises Koguashvili and screenwriter Boris Frumin have in store for him, escorted to New York in a hearse – the only car available to the Georgian ex-pat who drives him around town – and we don’t can only hope he won’t leave in one. Ever since James Gray’s “Little Odessa,” Brighton Beach, essentially a reconstruction of the former Soviet Union along streets instead of national borders, has only received this loving on-screen attention and it’s up to Kakhi. to navigate its ins and outs better than his son, who came to the United States with the intention of obtaining a medical degree, but finds himself blocked by his gambling habits. The $ 14,000 Soso owes Amir (Yuriy Zur) don’t seem so overwhelming in the grand scheme of things, but Kakhi’s help seems like an additional burden as it’s clear that he’s already seen as a disappointment for his father and the money is enough. to prevent him from marrying Lena, which could guarantee him a green card, relieving him of the stress of potentially being deported.

While in a community that makes its own rules, Kakhi is drawn into other mishegoss, living in an apartment building with other Georgians, and the gentle giant becomes an unlikely executor, a telltale sign of a place. where everyone seems to be something other than who they really want to be. (Just look at his roommate, a restaurant doorman who sometimes brings out the voice he used as an opera singer, to attest to this.) However, “Brighton 4th” is so rich in cultural detail you won’t want to. not leave for as hectic as its characters can get, alternately charming and poignant when old ways of doing things are unexpectedly introduced into everyone’s new lives. It’s a bit poetic as “Brighton 4th” rises dramatically with the cinematography of Phedon Papamichael, the “Ford Vs. Ferrari” cinematographer who hasn’t shot anything on this smaller scale in at least a decade, if not two (omitting Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska”), and gives Koguashvili a sharp focus and evocative lighting to let the slightly surreal sense of humor. It is perhaps a rare occurrence when the sun breaks through in “Brighton 4th”, but as a film it is nonetheless resplendent.

“Brighton 4th” does not yet have distribution in the United States.