Rati Oneli’s hypnotically impressive City of the Sun brings us to the center of a disturbing abyss.

In the Georgian mining town of Chiatura, people seem abandoned by the rest of civilization. They go on about their mining business during the day and about their social life later, resumed by expressing creativity in half-preserved surroundings and decaying architectures. Longings and hopes seem like distant foggy dreams.

Using numerous long trackings, longshots and deliberate slow pace, City of the Sun, with its depiction of a semi-ghost town, is a dark and moody piece in a near apocalyptic setting. The approach is of a fiction film. Oneli spent months with his subjects. He observes his protagonists, rather than interviewing them.  They forget his presence. It took three years to complete the film. We are slowly fed with details, through out, about their difficulties and resignation.

The outstanding and pitch perfect sound recreation and added music of Andrey Dergachev, the usual collaborator of award winner director Andrey Zvyagintsev, provides whopping drama ingredients and a huge sense of depth. The camera work by Arseni Khachaturan is inspired. Rati Oneli cites among visual and emotional influences the great Russian animator Yuri Norstein (Hedgehog in the Fog and Tale of Tales).

Convincingly handled in creating an uneasy feel of claustrophobia, while staying true to the human scale of its protagonists, City of the Sun is an unsettling sensory dark tale. A demanding but significant film.


Screenings :

Nov. 17 2:00 PM
Cinéma du Parc
with English subtitles

Nov. 18 8:00 PM
Cinéma Quartier Latin
with English subtitles