Elene Naveriani | GEORGIA & SWITZERLAND | 2021 | 115 min | S.-T.A. / GEORGIAN S.-T.EN.
Considered a “plague” by their ultra-conservative neighbours, the repressed queer occupants of a seaside Georgian village, who span genders and generations, begin to pursue their true passions in the wake of a “lonely,” “soft” man’s suicide.
When fashion-forward Tbilisian Moe (Bebe Sesitashvili) arrives in the little Black Sea village, she is labelled as “just like Eliko,” her grandfather whom she is there to bury when few others deign to do so. She is assisted by the close-lipped Amnon (played with devastating stillness by Gia Agumava), the owner of the Wet Sand bar, and his one employee, Fleshka (Megi Kobaladze), who laments that she was “born in the wrong body.” To maintain their personal and relational dignities, these misfits must challenge the insidious hatreds of the townspeople and contend with a handsome police officer (Giorgi Tsereteli, a standout in image+nation 32 (2019) Opening Film, And Then We Danced) whose allegiances are yet to be determined. With undertones of Antigone in its foregrounding of unwanted burials that shake society, Wet Sand vibrates with tragedy, as well as something deeper: the hope that a new generation can torch the rotten scaffolding of the old.