In 1961, a book by the young prose writer Nodar Dumbadze "I, Grandma, Iliko and Illarion" was published. The book's success in Georgia was resounding and universal. The adventures of the village boy Zuriko, who came to study in Tbilisi, were read by readers of all ages. The Kote Mardzhanishvili Theater staged the story immediately after its release. Later, the popularity of the story crossed the borders of Georgia.
In the film "I, Grandma, Iliko and Illarion" Tengiz Abuladze's talent for poetic and philosophical generalization, growing out of ordinary, sometimes comic, sometimes sad, but always simple facts of life, was most fully manifested. The film tells about life in a Georgian village. And they cover a fairly significant segment of the life of the heroes: peacetime before the Great Patriotic War and the war years. Before us passes the adolescence and youth of Zurikela. The film does not have a rigid plot, the narrative is built freely, almost the entire urban part, significant in the story, is truncated here to a simple designation: Zurikela went to study in the city. The main goal of the director is to show how a person, his worldview and character are formed under the influence of life events, small and large.
Having changed a lot in the plot in relation to the story, abandoning many dramatic lines and twists, Abuladze managed to preserve in the picture the lyrical tonality, tinged with soft humor - the main stylistic feature of Nodar Dumbadze's story, saved touching episodes from a touch of sentimentality, and raised the dramatic ones to tragic tenseness. The film organically combines tragic, epic and comedic elements. Through the characteristic feature of everyday life, the bright and juicy language of the heroes, Abuladze deeply revealed the national character of his people.
The action, limited to the outskirts of the Gurian village and only briefly transferred to Tbilisi, there are only a few heroes - the grandmother in whose care Zuriko is, the same one who is denoted by the pronoun "I" in the credits and on whose behalf the story is told in the film, the old neighbors Iliko and Illarion, who voluntarily took upon themselves the joy and responsibility for the upbringing and formation of Zurikela, his girlfriend Mary, fellow villagers, a school teacher. But at the same time, deep layers are affected, never before on the screen of a life that has never arisen!
The life of the Georgian village, the war that broke out suddenly, wartime were seen in a new way, grew into a truly philosophical generalization. The history of one village has become the history of an entire people. And this was combined with captivatingly accurate characters, with full-blooded and subtle humor.
Me, Grandma, Iliko and Ilarion/Я, бабушка, Илико и Илларион
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