SFIFF57 Report: Levan Koguashvili’s “Blind Dates”

BlindDates_03four-stars430 minutes of humor, followed by 30 minutes of mildly suspense-tinged drama, followed then by another 30 minutes of humor. Films with such drastic tonal shifts as this aren’t usually my cup of coffee. Yet in director Levan Koguashvili’s capable hands I was drinking it right up.

While there are a couple of actual blind dates that do happen in the film, one of them literally involving a blind woman (see pic above), don’t be fooled into thinking this is some sort of romantic comedy of the popular Hollywood variety. It’s humor, of which there is plenty, presents itself organically, natural, and often with long-takes. This, combined with mostly deadpan performances from its cast, makes for a unique comedy, and is a breath of fresh air from other films of this latest wave of Georgian cinema, a movement that has been unfairly labeled as “pretentious” and “too art-housey”. To those dissenting critical voices, phooey on you!

Plot wise, this is oddly similar to Nicolas Winding Refn‘s 2011’s Drive, minus the car chases, violence, neon palette, relentless seriousness, and of course the young Gosling type. Koguashvili’s film is about a man who knows what the heart wants, but whose strong noble ethics stop him from taking it. His love interest, played by the beautiful Ia Sukhitashvili, has a child as well as an “unlucky” husband who just got out of prison. To say anymore, would be unkind of me, as half the fun of this film is not knowing how it plays out, but trust me, those who enjoy low-key cinema with a strong feel-good moral core will not want to miss this one.

Remaining showtimes for Blind Dates:
Tuesday, April 29th 6:30pm (New People)

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Categories: Reviews, San Francisco International Film Festival

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