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Comets review – a lovers’ reunion charged with cosmic poignancy

A surprise reappearance throws the life of middle-aged widow into otherworldly flux in this strangely affecting drama

Here is an intriguing cine-novella from Georgian film-maker Tamar Shavgulidze, which is at first unassumingly contemporary and realist, but which then takes a deadpan left turn into something really strange; it becomes like something from the 1960s counterculture, yet is as coolly paced and controlled as everything that has gone before.

Initially, Comets seems like a straightforwardly bittersweet “reunion” tale, full of poignant regret. Nana (Ketevan Gegeshidze) is a middle-aged widow who is pottering about her garden one sunlit afternoon, squabbling mildly with her grownup daughter Irina (Ekaterine Kalatozishvili), when suddenly they have a visitor: a rather stylishly attired woman of Nana’s age, also called Irina (Nino Kasradze). This is the person with whom Nana had a semi-secret love affair when they were teenagers, which caused much local scandal. Irina ran away to begin a glamorous existence in Krakow and Berlin and Nana blandly (or perhaps penitentially) stayed in her home town and had children: Irina is of course named after her lost love and like the older Irina she exasperates Nana by wearing sunglasses to conceal her mood.

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