Streaming Review

Comets review – short but fatally dull Georgian romance

Tamar Shavgulidze’s unpredictable tale of a past relationship barely scrapes feature length, but will test your patience anyway

Within its opening 10 minutes, you might feel as if you’ve got the number of Comets, an opaque Georgian sort-of-romantic drama. A 10-ish minute unbroken, static-camera take of a mother and her adult daughter gently arguing whilst the mother prepares some freshly-picked blackberries, it looks like a committed and placid slice of social realism. This assumption is soon interrupted, though, by the arrival of a past lover, and shifted yet again towards the end by a sharp left turn into impressionistic sci-fi. It’s an ambitious array of genres spanned in just 70 minutes, yet, somehow, Comets still manages to be fatally boring.

The mother in question is 50-something Nana (Ketevan Gegeshidze), living with daughter Irina (Ekaterine Kalatozishvili), and seemingly trapped in a semi-content boredom that is upended when a different Irina (Nino Kasradze) makes a surprise visit. This Irina was Nana’s secret girlfriend back when the pair were teenagers and has since moved away from Georgia for a more glamorous life in Poland and Germany.

Though writer-director Tamar Shavgulidze’s intercutting of the past and present makes for some disarming moments, this reunion is mostly just underpowered. There are a lot of endless, slightly resentful conversations about the past and the different paths the pair’s lives have taken since then, and Shavgulidze’s stationary camerawork and lack of score gives this plodding story nowhere to hide, while the incredibly reserved performances only add to the boredom.

For a movie that barely qualifies as feature length, there’s no excuse for so much of it to be this dull, and though the sci-fi leap at the climax does perk the whole endeavour up somewhat, it’s too little too late.

Comets is now streaming on MUBI.

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