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This Soviet film is a biography of the Georgian artist Niko Pirosmanishvili (1863-1918), usually known as Pirosmani. It won awards from the British Film Institute and the Chicago Film Festival. Pirosmani died of starvation, unable to sell any of his works for sufficient money to support life. Ironically, his primitivist style was later very much in fashion, and huge sums were paid for his surviving paintings. This well-regarded film focuses on Pirosmani's everyday life in the Georgia of his time, and is photographed in a bold style which echoes the artist's vision and causes the viewer to enter into it. This is necessary, because little factual material about the artist was available; most of his biography was composed of legends and recorded gossip. The film's director, Georgi Shengelaya, is the son of Nikolai Shengelaya, one of the founders of Georgia's film industry; his mother was an early Georgian movie star. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi


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