“There is a theory according to which water was brought on Earth by comets. Without water, human existence is impossible. Just like human existence is impossible without love.”
COMETS is a quiet, still film that explores the long lost love of two women. Presented in fragmented memories and stilted conversations, the film gives viewers a taste of what a same-sex relationship looks like in a country that is still fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
Director Tamar Shavgulidze was born in 1980, in Tbilisi. She graduated in 2002 from the Faculty of Film Directing under Dato Janelidze at the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgian State University. She has made several shorts and one feature film, Comets. Her projects have won competitions at the National Film Center four times, and she also has been a jury member in the Film Center’s short film competitions.
COMETS had its World Premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you got involved with filmmaking.
Tamar Shavgulidze: I wanted to make films since childhood. Also, not sure why I wanted; maybe because I loved to watch movies with my Dad when I was young, or maybe because I was amused by making up stories that I did not share with anybody, just shared with myself.
Tell us about COMETS, and why you decided to tell this story.
TS: Today, it is difficult for me to recollect why I have decided to make COMETS; maybe it is because I do not believe in unconditional love and suddenly had a desire to believe in it for short time.
There are many long still shots throughout COMETS, why did you choose to explore the story in this way?
TS: When I think about the movie, first I see movie character and the form. I do not know from where it comes, maybe my invented character tells me how to show her.
The daughter adds an interesting layer to this piece, why was it important for her character to be involved in this story?
TS: Maybe I have imagined the following: two persons love each other. Due to different reasons, they cannot be together. One leaves, and the other stays and gives birth to the child. Can you imagine the relief brought by naming your child after your loved one, pronouncing her name million times daily without anybody figuring this out?
What is the film industry like in Georgia and what was it like getting this film made?
TS: My country was part of the Soviet Union for 70 years, because of that the Georgia movie industry was the Soviet movie industry. In 1991, we gained independence from Russia. Independence was accompanied by wars and economic hardship thanks to Russia.
Only in 2003, my friend and a producer Levan Korinteli, after overcoming great challenges managed to make the first independent Georgian movie. Since then we are moving forward at a slow pace, but we still are very far from having a film-industry
I have participated in the annual contest of Georgian National Film Center, and as a winner, we received funding to make this film.
What are you working on now/next?
TS: Comets is the first part of the trilogy. Now I am thinking about the second part, and probably its title will be Asteroid.