Sophio Medoidze Xitana + Let Us Flow
A two-part ode to the mountains about ritual and modernisation, community and division, local dialect and film jargon.
Let us Flow (ვიდინოთ), 63min, 4K color, sound, 2023, with English subtitles, BE Première
A long poem to the mountains, Let us Flow is a two-part feature that explores the isolated mountainous region of Tusheti, in North-east Georgia. It considers the importance of ritual, the maintenance of community ties, and how modernisation and migration are transforming rural landscapes. Shot over several years, Let us Flow uses innovative audio-visual techniques to make visible the symbolic and physical division of sacred spaces within the community and offers a nuanced perspective on a culture where ancestral shrines are only accessible to men.
Medoidze is interested in linguistic parallels between Tushetian dialect and filmmaking jargon, between ‘hunting’ and ‘shooting’: Tushetians believe that odd years are governed by Goddess Dali, the protector of wild animals, and even years are St George’s years. Let us Flow follows this structure as its two parts are shot in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Writer, director, camera and editing: Sophio Medoidze | Composer: Reso Kiknadze | Second camera: Goga Devdariani | Additional footage: Andro Eradze | Sound: Ivane Gvaradze | Sound mix: Sophio Medoidze | Color: Nico Tarielashvili | Produced by Sophio Medoidze | co-produced by Sakdoc film | with support from Arts Council England and Georgian National film centre
Xitana (ხითანა), 6min HD color, sound, 2019, with English subtitles
The first film in Medoidze’s Tusheti Trilogy, Xitana is centred around a bareback horse race tradition in Tusheti mountains – a display of masculinity as much as of the fragility of the community trying to maintain its cultural integrity. Nowhere else is this conflict of desires more pronounced than during Atengenoba, the region’s traditional summer festivities, with young Tushetians looking increasingly more like the teenagers anywhere else, ditching their traditional dress for Norm-core.
Writer, director, camera and editing: Sophio Medoidze | Music: Reso Kiknadze and Tushetian people | Sound: Tinatin Tsiskaradze, Nina Gabrava | Commissions by Projections Commissions at Tyneside cinema
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the artist.
Sophio Medoidze’s (b. Tbilisi, Georgia, lives and works in London) practice encompasses film, photography, writing and sculpture and explores the poetic potential of uncertainty. For a time she worked anonymously as part of the Clara Emigrand collective, disseminating her work outside the gallery context. The desire for a community (both actual and imaginary) drives her narrative work, as she questions the interplay of rural and urban, languages and translations, as well as gender politics and dynamics. Her works often emerge from writing and unfold as installations incorporating moving image, sculpture, and text. Medoidze’s films are known for their use of innovative audio-visual techniques, they have been screened at the international film festivals including short film festival Oberhausen and EMAF European Media art festival. Her work has been shown at Tate Modern, Centre d´art Contemporain de Brétigny, LUX London, Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Serpentine Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, amongst others. A collection of her short stories Bastard Sun will be published by Distanz and Kona books in 2023. Medoidze’s films are distributed by LUX, London.
In collaboration with Europalia Festival.
stills 1—3: Let Us Flow
still 4: Xitana