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This crazy, satirical epic humorously portrays several eras in European history. Though the costumes and regimes change, the film suggests, the human motives of lust and greed remain the same. Jumping back and forth in time, the film condemns its characters to an eternity of irony. In one section, a medieval king named Vano, who has a penchant for exotic torture techniques, executes his wife for being unfaithful. Seamlessly the film flashes forward to the early 1930s, with another Vano, played by the same actor, portraying a low-down thief who suddenly seizes power. Intercut with all of this is the story of a contemporary Vano, a hapless drunk who wanders across the underworlds of Europe. This extraordinary film expresses rage against the dark side of human nature that keeps despots in power, despite the upheavals of history, but it does so with a delightfully comic edge. (FYI, there are no chapters 1-6). In Georgian and French with English subtitles.

Otar Iosseliani---France/Georgia---1996---129 mins.