Gripping drama by Rezo Gigineishvili about a plane hijacking in 1983 Georgia
The film Hostages (Mdzevlebi) directed by the young Georgian director Rezo Gigineishvili was shown at the Berlinale in the Panorama section. It is based on the true events of a plane hijacking in 1983 by a group of youngsters belonging to the artistic elite of Georgia. The hijacking resulted in multiple casualties and all hijackers, except tone woman, were executed. After the USSR dissolved, the participants of these events were sometimes romanticized and represented as heroic martyrs. The film leaves a strong impression and leaves room for thought. The closing sentence of the film – ” In 1991 the freedom of movement was finally granted” – is something completely unnecessary; first of all this is common knowledge and secondly the lack of freedom of movement cannot be an excuse or explanation for the atrocities depicted in the film. The people who suffered were innocent ordinary people; more than that, there were 56 people on board and the lives of most of these people were saved only by the courage of the pilot who used special maneuvers managed to land the plane safely.
After the public screening at Berlinale, a Q&A session took place and actor Irakli Kvirikadze spoke with admiration towards the hijacker whom he portrayed in the film. His statement was as shocking as the film itself. Hijacking the plane and taking hostages is an act of terrorism and romanticizing the hijackers is praise of terrorism itself. In this sense the director Rezo Gigineishvili spoke much more rationally when he described that the previous attempts at illustrating this event in film were unsuccessful because of overt glorification of the hijackers and he underlined that he does not approve these murders.
The film does not offer answers and does not explain motivation of horrific actions of hijackers, however it poses some profound questions, which is also important, especially as this event is still shrouded in mystery. The picture filmed in minimalist style and is made in an almost documentary fashion, it is tense and grips the viewer all the way through.