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COTTBUS 2019

Review: Pig

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- In his feature debut, Giga Liklikadze puts a Georgian spin on Dumb and Dumber

Review: Pig
Nika Gozalovi and Malkhaz Khutsishvili in Pig

Celebrating its world premiere at the FilmFestival Cottbus, Giga Liklikadze’s Pig is really as simple as they come – with all the “action” limited mostly to one, barely standing, house, where after wandering through some bushes, a 20-year-old man ends up being chained up by two goons demanding a hefty ransom of €100. It’s also, in stark contrast with that last sentence, very funny, with some of the most vulgar exchanges you can get constantly flying around, delivered with conviction and in graphic detail, yet somehow not feeling threatening at all. Perhaps that’s because in Pig, one finally gets to see how a kidnapping orchestrated by Peter Farrelly’s Harry and Lloyd would play out – only this time, they’re armed with a plastic bong, too.

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It’s an accidental kidnapping, to be more precise, as nothing here is really pre-meditated. The victim’s tormentors, who first try to steal his phone before aiming much higher, can’t even agree on whether to give him some water, let alone plan a proper felony. They’re bored, a bit hungry and are channelling all of their energy into coming up with yet another insult about somebody’s mother, or just somebody’s something, as nowadays you can’t be too picky – insults that are received by their basically mute victim without him batting an eyelid, barely visible through his long fringe anyway. There is a general air of aimlessness about each and every character, wandering around without any real goal, like the unfortunate Bachana (deemed unfit even for military service), or just hovering around a property that’s likely to collapse at any minute. It’s almost as if the actual crime gives them all a purpose for a while. For all the inconvenience, suddenly there are things to do, a prisoner to teach how to smoke and people to call about the money, even though they would much rather part with a pig.

All of this makes Liklikadze’s work an unexpected – if rather brutal – take on his country and its residents, told by the ever-growing number of tourists that their home is the new Italy, before they have even had a proper chance to clean all the dirt first, or at least to find a little metal thing that is preventing their bus from continuing its journey, with all of the passengers complying with their very own version of Mel Brooks’ “comb the desert” demand without a peep of protest. This is certainly not the kind of story that most wannabe explorers would like to see before going mountain hiking, beachside biking or whatever else is on offer, not some “under the Georgian sun” nonsense, and the lack of that famed wine is actually very telling. The movie is all the better for it as well, as this debuting director proves himself to be a smart storyteller, giving just enough hints about his lame three amigos without shoving exposition down anybody’s throat. Although all those travel agencies will not be happy about it at all.

Pig, written by Giga Liklikadze, was produced by the helmer himself and Irakli Chikvaidze, for Sarke Studio.

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