Hostages, directed by Rezo Gigineishvili, is probably one of the most controversial films shot in the last decade of Georgian cinema.
The film is a product of Georgian, Russian, and Polish collaboration and premiered at the Berlin
International Film Festival and got very positive reviews from the members of jury, with many of them saying it’s a ‘gem from Georgia’.
You can see it in several cinemas around Tbilisi, Rustaveli, Amirani and Cavea cinemas are all showing the film. Also, in Batumi you can see it at the Apollo Cinema.
The film itself depicts real events that took place in the Soviet era, in 1983, when 7 young people wanted to hijack a plane which would take them to the nearest capitalist country, Turkey, and from there they planned to travel to their final destination, America, known as the ‘land of liberty’. The real life protagonists were; Davit Mikaberidze, Soso Tsereteli, brothers Kakha and Paata Iverieli, Gia Tabidze, Gega Kobakhidze and Tina Petviashvili (The last two got married the day before the event). The ideology of these youngsters was driven by an untamed strive to achieve self-liberation. As we know, it was forbidden for citizens of the USSR to travel beyond the borders of the Soviet Union. These events had a tremendous effect on Georgian culture. In 2001, Dato Turashvili, a Georgian writer wrote a novel about the episode called “Jeans Generation”.
The film itself was shot in 2017 and starts with 7 young friends who decided to hijack a plane and free themselves by travelling to America. The film is based on real life events. During the film we see how these friends buy guns, plan the whole thing and eventually fail. They plan to hijack a plane that was flying from Tbilisi to Batumi but it appears that everything they had planned was already leaked and the government had a plan to stop them. After they board the plane, the tension rises and after 30 minutes the stewardess says that, due to bad weather in Batumi, they must return to Tbilisi. Soon, they start to shoot and threaten the pilot, but the plane is still heading towards Tbilisi airport and as soon as it lands one of the hijackers commits suicide, the rest are injured. After landing, soldiers storm the plane and take it by force, dragging the hijackers outside. Soon, a trial is held and the remaining friends are sentenced to death, except for the girl, Tina, who is sentenced to 14 years in prison. But apart from these 7 people, there is one monk, a friend of theirs, who was not even on the plane but is also executed. He was found guilty for being the ideological and spiritual leader who provoked them.
The film is just like the real events, showing the facts from the day before the event, and after the event, the events and situations that led to the idea of the hijacking and escaping the USSR are not dealt with as the story starts at the brink of the action. Viewers never get to see the lives these people lived in the Soviet Union and how it was forbidden to be in touch with anything outside the USSR. For people who aren’t familiar with the real background of the story, the film is just an action movie about a failed attempt to hijack a plane. The camera work, lighting and colours of the film have received great praise as it is movie-making at its best. The actors are also outstanding in their portrayal of the lead characters.
In the end, the film is adapted from the original story and it somehow gets lost in a void. Although, it’s a must see for everyone. We never get to know who the real hostages were, the 7 people who were taken by the authorities of the Soviet Union may have been several innocent people that had nothing to do with the hijacking. Even today, the film is controversial were these people criminals, terrorists or were their actions justified?