Beginning by Dea Kulumbegashvili, how to explain the ending?
16 August 2022
Beginning, trailer, is the 2020 debut feature of Georgian filmmaker Dea Kulumbegashvili. Yana (Ia Sukhitashvili) is the wife of a Jehovah’s Witness minister, David (Rati Oneli). They have a young son Giorgi (Saba Gogichaishvili). But Yana begins to question her life after their small church is fire-bombed by a group of extremists, during a service one afternoon.
She is frustrated by local police who have little interest in investigating the attack, even though security camera footage clearly identifies the perpetrators. After being assaulted by a man, Alex (Kakha Kintsurashvili), who claims to be a police officer, Yana sinks deeper into despair, but also finds a steely, though grim, resolve. Beginning is equal parts meditative and unsettling. We sense Yana at times on the verge of catharsis, yet never quite attaining the peace of mind she seeks.
But what of Yana’s shocking act at the conclusion of the story? Is her victim intended as a surrogate for the police officer, Alex, whom we see die, possibly having been poisoned, on a dried out riverbed? Does Yana see the patriarchal abuse of women as a cycle with no end? But a cycle she’ll do the unthinkable to try and curb? This is what I saw in the final scenes of the film.