Letters To Max
Time Out says
A documentary transmission from a lost country: the devastated former Soviet Rebublic of Abkhazia
Current affairs junkies may remember the early ’90s conflict when the region of Abkhazia split from Georgia after the bloody ethnic cleansing of resident Georgians from the area. Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela recognise Abkhazia as a country but virtually no one else in the world does. So when French filmmaker Eric sends a letter to his pal Maxim, a businessman and former Abkhazian foreign minister, he’s doubtful it’ll reach him. Arrive it does, however, and this intriguing doc unfolds with Max delivering his responses in voiceover, as we watch travelogue footage of the post-Soviet desolation that is today’s Abkhazia.
Looking like the setting for some post-apocalyptic drama, the place hardly seems real, though Max’s warmly engaging responses add a human resonance to the peculiar predicament of living in a country that exists mainly in the imagination of its populace (to everyone else, it’s still regarded as part of Georgia). The 109-minute running time is too long, seriously dulling the film’s impact. Still, the dreamlike visuals do cast a spell, and director Baudelaire doesn’t shy from addressing the ethnic wounds behind Abkhazia’s continuing state of non-recognition.