In Bloom is the grim portrayal of lives losing out to war and confusion. Shot in deference to the greys and dull whites of dust and gravel, the camera frames a war film away from the front, where the conflict has spread to the life of civilians. It has an authenticity to its subject matter which keeps at bay any questions of exaggeration; life for those in bloom can be this dark.
Directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili & Simon Gross, 102 minutes
Having worked together on Simon Gross’ German thriller Fata Morgana (2007), – a bizarre story of two lovers lost in the Moroccan desert – In Bloom is Nana Ekvtimishvili and Gross’ second collaboration. The imposing theme is ‘living with violence’. Set in Ekvtimishvili’s native Georgia in 1992 during civil war, and drawn from her own memories, this film deals with the lives of two friends coming to terms with what it is to be a girl in the tatters of a wrecked city, on the streets and at home.
With Eka and Natia confronted by a handgun, an equally terrifying marriage proposal and war, it would be easy to see In Bloom as a harsh ‘coming of age’ film – a phrase so overused it’s lost its meaning. But in this cinematic snapshot of two young lives in the midst of turmoil, the narrative gives Eka and Natia no time to grow up, with the climactic tragedy we witness ushering forth the realities of adulthood.
It is not a unique story that young people are exposed to the worst of human failures and it’s not one Ekvtimishvili and Gross deal with subtly; the few moments of laughter or tenderness in this film are always tempered by bleak circumstance. An emphasis is made on capturing cramped spaces without being intimate: the confines of small rooms, the slamming of doors, the panic of hungry locals crushed in bread queues. A confrontational lack of space charges the narrative with the stress and tension of an experience few of us know.
In a film where the two chaotic worlds of feminine youth and war collide, Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria bring a very moving stoicism to their characters. Eka and Natia are played with inventive restraint making their attempts at defying the nihilism of their situation all the more potent. Their performances match brilliantly the authority of In Bloom’s authorship, resulting in a film of significant achievement. As these two girls struggle to bring some colour to a city strangled by violence, In Bloom exposes the bleak wreckage of lives deserving to survive.
In Bloom premieres at 8pm on at Hackesche Höfe Kino.
In Cinemas in Berlin from