09/01/2018

In Bloom - Love As Possession, Freedom As A Gun

Quick Thoughts: In Bloom (Grdzeli Nateli Dgheebi, 2013)


Made by Nana Ekvtimishvili, this is the Georgian film of the series.


In Bloom is a powerful film, but, a somewhat confounding one too. This follows two fourteen-year-old girls during the Georgian civil war (which is a backdrop of the narrative and not particularly central) who, together, have to manage and confront two men who fall in love with one of the girls. With a constant sense of threat, danger and violence hanging over the story, it sometimes becomes absurd to see two young girls caught in a maelstrom of such intense drama. However, by virtue of a strong script, solid performances and a realist aesthetic, there is a verisimilitude imbued into this film that does not leave the drama melodramatic, rather, an entity of seeming truth.

The crux of this film is a gun. This gun, along with a single bullet, is given to one of the girls by one of the two boys interested in her. She interprets this as an act of love as the gun seems to be a tool with which she can have freedom and protect herself. It then becomes immediately obvious that the heart of this narrative lies in the idea that when love becomes possession, freedom becomes a gun. This means that, because there seems to be a malevolence about the second boy who wants to marry the girl, who wants to posses her, the girl needs a gun to protect herself. However, this also means that, because love manifests itself around and is pushed upon this girl, the only way she is convinced that she is safe and free is with a gun - which turns out to be a symbolic shackle to constant violence; a violence which will possess her life.

This is a very troubling predicament for a plethora of reasons, and this narrative goes onto explore some of them with reference even to a positive outcome of the gun: it being used to not protect the girls, but protect someone else. Ultimately, however, this narrative is constantly commenting on this dichotomy of violence and possession that is given the facade of love and freedom. We see this with almost all of the couples in this film: what draws them together doesn't seem to be love, but hatred, dissatisfaction and a threat of violence whilst possession, fear and a yearning for some kind of protection or freedom keeps them together.

With a civil war in the background of this narrative, it seems that this social atmosphere is projected as a consequence of an unsettled country, divided by violence, but unified by possession; people - men - fighting over a country to keep. Seeing not just an allegory manifested through the relationships of this film, but a trickle down effect of war constructed and explored, is the heart of In Bloom's poignancy as you both experience its drama unfold and think about its subtext.

In the end, this narrative seems to suggest that the solution to possession masquerading as love and violence masquerading as freedom, lies in a reconciliation with a father - archetypal and/or metaphorical - and a true, unhindered coming-of-age of a woman. In such, with a daughter confronting her father and the two hopefully settling their conflicts - which would see the father transform into a less possessive and malevolent entity - there would be no need for possession and violence, rather an empathy and understanding that manifests itself in the form of a potential for true and genuine relationships (what you may call love) that naturally preserves the freedoms of all involved. Maybe this is a solution to the problem of war, maybe this is the solution to the social issues that this film picks upon.

For this cautiously hopeful attempt at social commentary and the provision of a solution, I have to say that this is not just film that is an affecting watch, but a film to be respected.

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