• Golden Globe Awards

House of Others (Georgia)

House of Others, the directorial debut of Rusudan Glurjidze, is a haunting family drama about two families living in an abandoned village in Abkhazia, a remote region of Georgia.

The film is set during the mid-1990s. A civil war has just ended and more than 250,000 Georgians are being displaced from their homes and are forced to flee from ethnic Abkhaz-controlled territories. Glurjidze, who can directly relate to this, felt a responsibility to tell the trauma of war in her native Georgia. As she said in an interview, “It’s our duty to speak about it. In my house, two families lived in that time. It was our relatives and just friends.”

Loosely based on the experiences of Glurjidze as a child, the semi-autobiographical film tells the story of two families who are trying to make a fresh start after the Georgian-Abkhazian war.

Ginger (Malkhaz Jorbenadze), a warlord and opportunist who makes a profit by relocating families in remote villages, brings a family consisting of Astamur (Zurab Magalashvili), his wife Liza (Olga Dykhovichnaya) and their 10-year-old son Leo (Sandro Khundadze) and their small daughter to a crumbling house in an almost deserted village. This is a house abandoned by a family who was forced out by the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.

Astamur, who seems to be a broken man, has no initiative or decisive spirit so his wife Liza runs the household. Their only neighbor is a family that consist of two sisters, Ira (Salome Demuria) and Azida (Ia Sukhitashvili) and Azida’s teenage daughter Nata (Ekaterina Japhardze). The women try to evaluate the newcomers using binoculars owned by Ira, a militant-like personality and sternly androgynous character who acts as the “man of the house” in this family. She makes it clear that the new family’s presence is not welcome even as Nata and Leo become friends. The characters in the film try to make a life out of their misery, loneliness, melancholy and the other after-effects and trauma of war.

Cinematographer Gorka Gomez Andreu captures that eerie atmosphere, solitude and pain with the use of fog, haze, washed out shades of black and gray, smoke, rain or specks of dust and shadows. The film is both an artistic and emotional experience of the world of the two families, sharing a life in limbo, or is it purgatory on Earth.