What we see when we look up at the sky is the exploration of hope and loneliness in football

A still from what we see when we look up at the sky?

A still from what we see when we look up at the sky?

In our column How the Picture Moves, film writer Aditya Sreekrishna offers a technical breakdown of recently released movies and shows.

Alexander Koberidze’s Georgian movie What Do We See When We Look at the Sky starts from a row of legs on a sidewalk, and for about five minutes we see only two pairs of feet, with Lisa and Georgie colliding three times with each other, a very moving plot.

They talk a little about the coincidence of running into each other twice in the same day and decide to meet in a cafe the next day for a date. But the four astrologers – a sapling, a surveillance camera, a rain gutter, and the wind – tell Lisa that they have seen an evil eye cursing them both. They will wake up the next day, with new faces, new physical features and their abilities (Lisa’s medical skills and Georgie’s football skills). Now what will happen to the love that has passed the date and their curse? Koberidze is not here to think of missed opportunities or past possibilities, he clings to eternal hope, and the film joins in training not only Lisa and Georgie, but everyone around them with his lens. They change by accident; Their love includes the love of others. The romanticization of a healthy existence comes to the fore.

In some parts of Koberidze’s film, the speed of the frames seems to have increased. Although the film has a generous amount of voiceover narrative, most of the film is silent, portrayed as a film of a silent period. The action — it’s not really action like everyday minutes — speeds up as the music sticks to it. A cafe owner explains the procedures of an ice cream machine to his new employee, whose speech is as fast as a man’s moving hands. On another occasion, a policewoman talks to an old man and Georgie about trespassing on their pull-up bar bridge. Frames change fast, but it seems normal, because with a neorealist sensibility that gives everyone an equal status on screen, Koberid‌ze now draws us into his film, and the film is really about the city where it is set – Kuttaisi.

It brings to life a city we want to know more about, and Coberidze’s Mice-en-Sean is not built around Lisa and Georgie, but rather their story is just one of many in the city. So the film often allows distractions, focusing on a man smashing something after watching a football match (the World Cup is taking place), the street dogs having their own story around the tournament, and two filmmakers trying to make a film on different sets. Of the couple.

The film cuts through faces and places. Lots of cafes, the back of an old workshop with a superstitious football tradition, a boutique bakery with cake tasting events, where teenagers spend their time well, and younger people running away to eat ice cream. Although they do not recognize each other, Lisa and George go ahead with their date plan. But Koberidze refuses to separate Pathos from this lonely moment, and instead, amidst the waiting shots of Lisa and Georgie, he leads us to the table of the noisy young men who spend their lives around the restaurant. Their faces are never less than animated, in a world of their own, the lights of the city change from dusk to dawn, but their energy seldom wanders, the film was with them until the final farewell, and only a couple from a large group walk home together. All of this is depicted with a massive range of colors, with different shades of glossy shades sticking together, tying the film neatly into a rainbow in the sky. Nothing is silent or colorless. It is impossible to make the city a character without the majority of the city’s residents sitting on the screen. By avoiding the story of Lisa and Georgie from time to time, we can observe the people and the city as they live and breathe.

For all speed-up frames and looks, there is a function that promises respect for slow motion. The beating heart of football and Koberidze’s masterpiece.

A break from the kids playing football, their every minute being photographed. As Argentine fan Giorgi (and the name of the film that echoes Messi’s goal celebration) prepares for the World Cup, we’re playing football for kids of all ages and sizes from his balcony. The movie slows down, time moves a little carelessly, and in the middle of the action the children’s face and body become more expressive. A girl demonstrates her skill in his control and passes the ball, defenders and midfielders receive the ball in unison, someone in bad tackling kicks him in the hip, and he cringes in pain. One child scores and overtakes the moon, while another distracts and begins to dance as if the field has magically turned into a dance floor.

This sequence encompasses what we see when we look up at the sky, because everything the film does is less about it – faces expressing joy and sadness, a moment together, a moment of time held in a bottle, an exciting possibility. A romantic break in the middle of worldliness.

Wong Kar Wai’s Happy Together is reminiscent of football. The film is the exact opposite of what we see when we look at the sky. It’s about a Star Crossed Lover, but a couple surrounded by loneliness far away from home, with the extra sinosaur of immigrant status. Georgie is an Argentine fan and Happy Together is in Buenos Aires. During a Boca Juniors match, Yu-Fai stands alone amidst the cheers of a packed stadium. He plays football with his restaurant kitchen colleagues.

The football scenes of Happy Together are completely different from those of Koberidze’s movie. They seem to have lost their colorlessness and joy, as the sun blazes through their game, the moment of mutual consent violence in the scorching heat. The characters are often alone in the frame. The Georgian film is a complete eighty degree twist from Happy Together’s ruined love story, with its colorful and bright outside world. Even after the terrible curse, Georgie and Lisa are rarely alone. There is only hope for a film that allows a little fantasy in the context of Argentina and football.


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