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This award-winning film focuses on the civil war in Abkhazia (Georgia, 1992-93); a war that drove most Estonians, who had settled in the area, commencing in the mid-nineteenth century, back to their roots; they had overcome language, economic, political, religious barriers; slaughtered on the altar of Chechen/Georgian inbred animosity.

Two farmers elected to stay and harvest their crop of tangerines; interminable hours, days spent picking the fruit and crafting the crates to transport them: “Ivo” (chiseled, wizened, wise portrayal by Lembit Ulfsak) and “Margus” (plump, heart-felt depiction by Elmo Nuganen); a conflict occurs and they are straddled with two wounded warriors from opposing factions; the core of “Tangerines” centers on this fated foursome;  “Ahmed” (mesmerizing, Giorgi Nakashidze) is a Chechen mercenary, devout Muslim, convinced of the righteousness of the “purchaser”; “Nika” (Mikhail Meskhi, young and naively perfect in the role) is a Christian, inexperienced and perpetually tinkers with his damaged cassette; their confinement results in surprising revelations and the dissipation of ingrained prejudices.

Writer/director Zaza Urushadze grasps the complexities of the human condition; cloaks the ugliness of man’s inhumanity in a divinely exquisite landscape. At times “Tangerines” is numbingly plodding, but never sacrifices realities on a bed of sentimentalities.




  1. Re Tangerines: small correction: ‘straddle’ means to stand with legs spread apart, ‘saddle’ means to encumber.

    • Kay, meant “straddled”; extend across both sides. Possibly, too obtuse. Thank you for always reading and commenting. P.

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