Georgia’s film exports have blossomed recently with innovative and challenging films like “What do we see when we look up at the sky?” “Begin” and “Tame the garden.” Levan Koguashvili’s “Brighton 4th” offers a simpler narrative style as it brings an elderly former wrestler from the capital Tbilisi to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to help his sassy son.
Real-life wrestling champion Levan Tediashvili plays Kahki, whose son, Soso, is said to be studying medicine and getting married. Instead, Soso (Giorgi Tabidze, a cheerful dead dog) is shackled to a nagging gambling habit. Kahki band together with friendly neighbors in an inn to build muscles and try to pay off Soso’s sizable debt.
The leisurely story lies within the orbit of this tight-knit immigrant community, where everyone is quick to help (or join the song) and even Soso’s heavy-duty creditors can be soft. Everyone seems to be from the crowded former Soviet republics, and the restaurant halls and overcast skies (photographed by Phedon Papamichael) make it feel like no one has ever left.
There’s a certain warmth to the film, written by Boris Frumin (who co-produced the gripping chaos drama). “Give Me Freedom”). But the tale of family ties, guilt, and cunning misses out on its uniquely gripping opening scene in a Tbilisi gambling den that could well be a short film in itself. The film ends with a few mourning scenes that deliver a one-of-a-kind punch that might tear a tear or two.
Not rated. In Georgian, Russian, Kazakh and English, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. In the theater.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/podcasts/brighton-4th-review.html ‘Brighton 4’ Review: Family Bonds, Guilt and Negativity