Tangerines (SIFF 2014)

War is coming and everyone has left the village. Everyone, that is, except for Ivo and Margus, who intend to keep working and bring in their tangerine crop. They continue on with their daily lives and chores, despite “visits” by soldiers and distant gunfire. When the war finally arrives on their doorstep, the skirmish leaves just 2 survivors, one from each of the opposing factions. As Ivo nurses each of them back to health, he attempts to bring humanity back to the table as each healing soldier continually vows to kill the other once they are well enough.

The bleakness of the looming war is cut through by moments of warmth, humor, and understanding that give hope for the future, but the brief escapes from the reality of the war never last for long. Excellent film with well-developed characters and a carefully crafted plot. Dialogue is spares, but effective and realistic, and allows breathing room for the characters to grow. Highly recommended.

Provided Film Synopsis
Villagers Ivo and Markus take in a pair of men from opposite sides of a bloody conflict in this tense and emotional chamber piece, a prize-winning festival audience favorite. Estonian director Zaza Urushadze’s chamber piece is set during the 1992 outbreak of the conflicts between Georgia and the Russia-supported Republic of Abkhazia, which forced the majority of Estonians to return to the country of their forefathers. There have been Estonian settlements on the Caucasian Black Sea coast for more than a hundred years, but many of these villages had turned into ghost towns: only a few people stayed behind. Among them are aging carpenter Ivo and his neighbor Markus, who makes a living cultivating tangerines. The fruit is ripe and should be harvested soon, but war gets in the way—in fact, it comes for a house visit. When a battle takes place right outside his door, Ivo takes in two badly wounded men: Achmed, a Chechen, and Nika, a Georgian. Ivo soon discovers that housing deadly enemies is not easy, yet he acts calmly and declares his home a diplomatic neutral zone. How long it will last is a question elegantly considered in this deeply pacifist drama, as tense as any thriller.

Movie Details

  • Directed By:

    • Zaza Urushadze
  • Cast Members:

    • Elmo Nüganen
    • Giorgi Nakashidze
    • Lembit Ulfsak
    • Mikheil Meskhi
    • Zhanri Lolashvili
  • Countries:

    • Estonia
    • Georgia
  • Languages:

    • Estonian
    • Russian
  • Genres:

    • Drama
    • Political
    • Show Me the World
    • Social Issues