And Then We Danced

Critics Consensus

Led by an outstanding performance from Levan Gelbakhiani, And Then We Danced defeats prejudice with overwhelming compassion.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 79

95%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 21

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Movie Info

A passionate tale of love and liberation set amidst the ultraconservative confines of modern Georgian society, And Then We Danced follows Merab, a devoted dancer who has been training for years with his partner Mary for a spot in the National Georgian Ensemble. The arrival of another male dancer, Irakli--gifted with perfect form and equipped with a rebellious streak--throws Merab off balance, sparking both an intense rivalry and romantic desire that may cause him to risk his future in dance as well as his relationships with Mary and his family.

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News & Interviews for And Then We Danced

Critic Reviews for And Then We Danced

All Critics (79) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (73) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for And Then We Danced

  • Feb 16, 2020
    THE NIGHT THE TIGHTS WENT OUT IN GEORGIA - My Review Of AND THEN WE DANCED (3 1/2 Stars) Sometimes it's important to view a film through the lens of its country of origin. What may seem standard for us may feel globally shifting for others. I came to Levan Akin's And Then We Danced with this in mind, knowing full well that the LGBTQ+ communities in Tblisi, Georgia do not enjoy the same rights or even recognition as their more westernized counterparts. The story of a young male dancer navigating his burgeoning gayness in a hyper-masculine, homophobic culture may seem quaint to others, but by immersing myself in his existing circumstances, I walked away mostly charmed and enlightened despite an often formulaic approach. Akin, a Swedish citizen of Georgian descent, tells the story of Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani, a member of a traditional Georgian dance troupe, who at the outset gets called out by his macho, conversative coach Aleko (Kakha Gogidze) for dancing too softly. Telling everyone that there is no sex in Georgian dancing, his not-so-subtle warning has clearly been aimed at Merab. In fact, one of Merab's contemporaries has been expelled from the troupe for a gay incident. Enter the charming, handsome Irakli (Bachi Valishvili), a highly skilled dancer who replaced the ousted member and just in time for an important upcoming tryout. Merab's glances towards Irakli tell us everything we need to know despite Merab having a girlfriend, a fellow dancer named Mary (a sly, subtle performance from Ana Javakishvili). Irakli takes Merab under his wing as they rehearse their auditions together. Of course they fall in love, yet society rears its ugly head by putting countless obstacles in their paths. Still there's no stopping the attractions at play. Between the recent Portrait Of A Lady On Fire and this, they could launch a thousand college theses on same sex gazes. In a strange way, the film plays like a male Flashdance. Take away the welding helmet and the buckets of water at the strip bar, and you have the story of a working class person who navigates romance on the way to a big, climactic audition scene. They both feel slightly undercooked as well, but at least this film has a society to blame for people not getting to live their authentic lives. It's very easy as a Westerner to yell back at the screen, "Why don't you just kiss him?", but the lives of queer people in so many parts of the world don't allow for it. Gelbakhiani gives such a beautifully sensitive performance as a man who excels at making Mary think there's something there between them while beelining towards the real truth behind his affections. With very little dialogue about this dichotomy, Gelbakhiani almost entirely conveys his thoughts through his expressive eyes. Valishviki uses his smile and good looks to give a more traditional leading man performance. His makes his journey feel quite touching as he's faced with a decision to either please society or himself. I also really liked the actors who played Merab's parents and grandmother, all of whom were dancers, and feel very protective over Merab and his less dedicated, drug-dealing brother David (a vivid Giorgi Tsereteli), who barely makes an effort at the dance academy. Through David, the coach, and the menacing owner of the troupe, we experience the ultra-macho side of Georgian life. Dance, to them, feels like a way to glorify the patriarchy, giving permission for men to treat women, as well as anyone who threatens their worldview, terribly. Luckily, the film takes us on a brief interlude into the underground gay world of Tblisi, giving us a shred of hope that there's a life beyond the norms. Akin, however, stays true to the culture he depicts, eschewing fantasy for what seems like a tiny baby step at the very end. Consider it Stonewall, Georgian style. Cinematographer Lisabi Fridell and Production Designer Tee Baramidze capture the Post-Soviet look of the drab interiors and the amber hues emanating from the street lights. It works well to portray Merab's surroundings as ones he should attempt to escape. This contrasts beautifully to a key sequence in which he and his friends take a trip to a country villa. Everything seems more possible here than in their oppressive urban prison. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that "coming out" stories just aren't interesting anymore, but without films like And Then We Danced, it's easy to forget how revolutionary it may seem for those who live in much less forgiving cultures. At its Georgian premiere, in fact, anti-gay protesters tried to shut it down. Luckily, they screened it anyhow. I consider that an incredible accomplishment for a film many would say has its shares of cliches. For that, and for the wonderful performances and the authentic design and filmmaking, I'm very happy it has found its place in the world.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer

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