Country: Georgia, France
|Keep Smiling, Don Quijote winner in Tallinn 2012|
Length: 1h 31'
Producer: Rusudan Chkonia, M. Nicolas Blanc
Script: Rusudan Chkonia
DoP: Konstantine Mindia Esadze
Cast: Ia Sukhitashvili, Gia Roinishvili, Olga Babluani, Tamuna Bukhnikashvili, Nana Shonia, Shorena Begashvili, Maka Chichua
Production: Nikê Studio, Ex Nihilo
Awards and festivals: Tbilisi, Venice (Venice Days), Abu Dhabi
Hailed as the best screenplay by and supported by a grant from the Georgian National Film Centre, the internationally produced KEEP SMILING is a strong debut effort from Rusudan Chkonia.
The tragicomic tale about a beauty pageant featuring subcategories like “best cook”, “supermom” and other labels for pigeonholing women culminates in the talent competition where “bad girls” have no place. Mothers of three or more children enter the competition, vying for the grand prize of a whopping (not only by Georgian standards) of US $25,000 and an apartment.
The story revolves around ten women with very different backgrounds and personalities. Each of them has their own reasons for going along with this circus, except possibly for one groomed and coiffed beauty whose spouse is the head sponsor of the pageant. She doesn’t meet the criteria of three offspring and may well have no intention of ever going that route, but she simply has nothing else to do. But in the world of beauty pageants, everything goes. The men we see are all “pigs”; some just seem cuter at first glance.
Nothing goes as it should. Principles are shed and humiliations are swallowed. Oh, there’s fun, too, but it has a bitter taste. Then the humour dissipates into tragedy and the whole show comes crashing down.
The film is Georgia’s nomination for the Oscar for best foreign language film.
(b. 1978, Tbilisi, Georgia) graduated from film directing studies in 2001. That same year, she directed „Bediani – Lucky Village” and „Children Without a Name” – her diploma film, which earned her numerous prizes. Between 2005 and 2006, Chkonia took part in Berlinale’s Talent Campus. In 2007, she was invited to The Résidence at Cannes’ Cinéfondation foundation. After receiving a number of scholarships and taking on several projects, in 2012, she produced, wrote and directed her first full-length film KEEP SMILING.