The opening shot of Salome Jashi’s striking environmental tale captures a tree as tall as a 15-story building floating on a barge across the vast Black Sea. With astonishing cinematic style, this observational film charts one powerful man’s bizarre project to uproot and transplant hundreds of mature trees from the forests of rural Georgia to his own private garden. The film documents this brutal process of extraction as one-by-one the towering trees are pulled from the earth and transported to the palatial home of their new owner – a former Georgian Prime minister – as locals look on in horror and bemusement. Jashi captures the strange and terrible spectacle with a patient, forensic eye to construct a modern-day fable of wealth, power and privilege.
Since BGS partnered Open City Documentary Festival in presenting the UK premiere of Taming The Garden in September 2021, the film is to be distributed by Dogwoof.com in cinemas and on demand from 28th January 2022.
For tickets and more information please click here
2021 is a year of multiple anniversaries in Georgia. It marks one hundred years since the Bolsheviks crushed the independent Georgian Republic in February 1921 and thirty years since Georgia became independent again after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This year’s British Georgian Society Annual Cambridge Seminar will focus on the path that Georgia has travelled since 1991.
A welcoming speech will be given by HE Sophie Katsarava MBE, Ambassador of Georgia to the UK. Following the ambassador a panel of eminent specialists from Georgia and the USA – Zaal Andronikashvili, Nutsa Batiashvili, and Stephen Jones – will give us their thoughts on the lessons Georgia has learned over thirty tumultuous years. A discussion with the audience will follow moderated by Dr Hubertus Jahn.
The seminar will take place via Zoom on Friday 25th June, at 14:00 BST.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Zaal Andronikashvili is a research fellow at the Centre for Literary and Cultural Studies in Berlin and Professor at Ilia State University in Tbilisi. His research focusses on narratology, meta-history of literature, minor literature(s) and world literature, cultural semantics, political theology, the cultural history of Georgia as well as Soviet and post-Soviet cultural history. He is the author of Die Erzeugung des dramatischen Textes. Ein Beitrag zur Theorie des Sujets (2008) and Landna(h)me Georgien. Studien zur kulturellen Semantik (co-edited with Emzar Jgerenaia and Franziska Thun-Hohenstein, 2018). He is currently working on a new book with the title Literature in Georgia: between small literature and world literature.
Nutsa Batiashvili is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Dean of the Graduate School at the Free University of Tbilisi. Previously she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies. Her recent book, The bivocal nation: memory and identity on the edge of empire (2018), is about Georgia as a divided nation. It explains divisions and polarization as a form of cultural imagination. Her current research is situated at the intersection of cultural anthropology and the studies of nationalism, memory, and post-Soviet transformations.
Stephen Jones is Professor of Russian Studies and Chair of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He is an expert on post-communist societies in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with a particular focus on Georgia. He is also a member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences and he regularly advises the US government on current events in the Caucasus. Among his many publications are Socialism in Georgian Colors: The European Road to Social Democracy, 1883–1917 (2005), Georgia: A Political History Since Independence (2012), and The Making of Modern Georgia, 1918-2012: The First Georgian Republic and its Successors (2014).
Hubertus Jahn is Reader in the History of Russia and the Caucasus in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Senior Fellow of the Historisches Kolleg in Munich. Jahn holds a PhD from Georgetown University and a second higher doctorate from the University of Erlangen in Germany. He has taught at universities in the USA, Germany, and the UK. His research covers much of Russian history, with a focus on social and cultural aspects, as well as the history of Georgia and the South Caucasus. His current project explores the imperial scenarios and aesthetic representations of the Russian Empire in Georgia in the 19th century. Among his many publications are the monographs Patriotic Culture in Russia during World War I, a study of patriotic manifestations in Russian cultural life during the First World War, and Armes Russland: Bettler und Notleidende in der russischen Geschichte vom Mittelalter bis in die Gegenwart, an interdisciplinary study of begging and poverty in Russia from the Middle Ages to the present. He regularly guides Oxbridge alumni tours through Georgia and splits his life between Cambridge and Tbilisi.
The BGS and Royal Asiatic Society will be hosting the 2020 Annual Rustaveli Day event online (and retrospectively) on 3rd May at 18:00 UK time. Please see flyer attached.
This year we continue with the Anglo-Georgian Connections series and are excited to announce our speaker Prof. George Kalandia, who will give an illustrative talk and book presentation on British Sources about Georgia.
Prof. George Kalandia completed an extensive study spanning many years and numerous countries with an aim to publish less-known and unexplored documents about Georgia in European archives, libraries, museums and other repositories. The result was a series of books with a volume dedicated to the British sources.
The book comprises more than 200 sources, with translations and relevant comments covering XVI-XIX centuries – starting with the Chancellery of the Tudors and ending with the archives of “The Times”. The book contains information about: King Simon I, Battle for Tbilisi, Georgian-European relations, the Princely family of Dadiani, Laz people, Crimean War and Georgia, etc. The book contains more than150 coloured illustrations.
Welcome and introductions will be given by Dr. Alison Ohta (Director, Royal Asiatic Society) and H.E. Ambassador Sophie Katsarava.
During the 1970s and 80s, 4 Georgian women were the queens of international women’s chess. They came from the same city, were virtually neighbours, sometimes colleagues and sometimes rivals, but for 30 years Nona Gaprindashvili, Nana Alexandria, Maia Chiburdanidze and Nana Ioseliani were dominant at the very peak of female chess and also challenged the elite male players. In Georgia they were national heroines, and during the Cold War, revolutionized women’s chess across the globe, and became Soviet icons of female emancipation. Glory to the Queen is not only a film about winning and losing on the chessboard but a cinematic reflection on the individual and collective life stories of 4 remarkable and independent women.
Filmmaker Tatia Skhirtladze‘s feature documentary Glory To The Queen unites these 4 legendary Georgian chess players after 25 years, and is both a rare look into their present lives as well as a chronicle of their lasting legacy. You can view the film on the following link until the zoom Q&A on Thursday March 25th at 6.30pm UK time. https://vimeo.com/433085738 password: britishgeorgian250321
Tatia will be joined by chess legend Nana Alexandria for a zoom Q&A on Thursday 25th March at 6.30pm UK time.
British Georgian Society is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
British Georgian Society and Life Through Cinema are delighted to present the film Eliso (1928) for BGS members to view by Vimeo, and a Zoom talk by silent film specialist Salome Tsopurashvili ‘Deorientalizing the Caucasus: The New Woman’s Subjectivity in Nikoloz Shengelaia’s Eliso (Caucasian Love)’ on Thursday December 10th 2020 at 6.30pm – 7.45pm.
Salome Tsopurashvili is a current Georgian Studies Visiting Fellow at Oxford University. Her research focuses on the early Soviet and Stalinist cinema at the intersection of history, ideology and modifications of gender dynamics. Among her publications is a chapter titled Images of ‘The New Woman’ in Soviet Georgian Silent Films in an edited volume Gender in Georgia: Feminist Perspectives on Culture, Nation and History in the South Caucasus (2017). She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from the Tbilisi State University, and a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from the Central European University in Budapest.
Salome will be joined, from Tbilisi, by Georgian filmmaker Rusudan Chkonia, whose debut feature was the hugely successful Keep Smiling (Gaigimet 2012), premiered in Venice and internationally distributed. Rusudan worked with Mohsen Makhmalbaf on the film he shot in Georgia The President, and was about to shoot her own film Venice, when the pandemic delayed the start.
Completing the panel will be Dr. Dušan Radunović, Associate Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University, who has recently written on aspects of national identity in Georgian Soviet cinema. He also curated a Tyneside Georgian film festival in 2018 Screening the Nation: Georgia 1918 – 2018.
The evening will be moderated by BGS director Bella Radenovic-Tsulukidze. Please register for this event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Eliso has been made available thanks to GNFC (Georgian National Film Centre) and is one of the classic films of Georgian and Soviet silent cinema. This version has been restored under the direction of Eldar Shengelaia and with a score by Jemal Adamashvili. Set in 1864, the Tsarist regime is using Cossacks to forcibly resettle Muslim Chechen villages to Turkey. Meanwhile a local Muslim girl falls in love with a Christian Khevsur. It was released in the United States in 1929 as Caucasian Love. Eliso will be available to view from now until the lecture on https://vimeo.com/480891414 password: BGSEliso12.20
British Georgian Society members are warmly invited to Mariam Batsashvili’s concert taking place in the medieval parish church of Tonbridge in Kent (45minutes by train from Charing Cross station) on 9 May 2020, 7.30pm.
Mariam Batsashvili (piano) 9 May 2020, 7.30pm
Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Tonbridge
Mozart: Sonata No.8 in D major KV 311 Chopin: Six Polish Songs, Op.74 (arr. for piano by Franz Liszt) Liszt: Rhapsodie espagnole (Spanish Rhapsody), S.254 Ravel: Sonatine for Piano Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite, Op.71a (arr. for piano by M Pletnev)
Adults £20 Under-18s and Students in full-time education free Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult This concert is also available as part of a mini-season membership (3 concerts for £50) or a full membership (5 concerts for £75)