A love of movies and a vaguely worded advertisement prove to be potent lures to Tinatin Gurchiani’s compassionate (if uneven) film-school project, a compendium of interviews that yields occasional insights into the harshness of post-Soviet Georgian life. Subjects stand before a pockmarked wall, certain they’re bound for stardom, as the director gently asks questions: One balding action fan claims to have moves like Van Damme; another kid talks about his chores on the family farm and a fondness for fairy tales.
Hardly unique as a concept, the doc gets more emotional mileage outside of the room, when Gurchiani follows her participants back to their muddy, rural lives—essentially making short versions of the feature they thought they were auditioning for. A plaintive piano score is redundant (and a touch pitying), given some of the ramshackle huts and wandering cows we see. Still, the film captures a few surprising similarities to the West: One dead-eyed club kid says she’s “tired of everything,” while a hopeful young actor seems to be trying out for her own reality show, breaking down in front of her estranged mother. The experiment isn’t more than a slice of life, but at least it’s a generous one.
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