(1969) USSR

Directed by Georgii Shengelaia

Written by Erlom Akhvlediani and Georgii Shengelaia. Cinematography Konstantin Apriatin. Art direction Avtandil Varazi. Music Vakhtang Kukhianidze. With Avtandil Varazi, David Abashidze, Zurab Kupianidze, and Maria Gvaramadze.

In Russian with English subtitles

A poetic film about the life of Niko Pirosmanishvilli (1863-1918), a Georgian primitivist painter whose work came to be recognized several years after his death.

Shengelaya has made here a film of pure nostalgia having reconstructed the taverns and palaces of Tiflis by photographs and pictures of that period. He follows aspects from the painter's life through the richness of the paintings and the simple beauty of old stones and buildings in the city. The film is a rare case in its success in incorporating the work of an artist into his life experience, identifying ultimately these two ostensibly opposed elements.
— Spiros Gangas, http://www.eufs.org.uk//films/pirosmani.html

The theme in Pirosmani is not only the life and times of Niko Pirosmanishvili, but the destiny of an artist in the world of the blind. — Andrew Horton and Michael Brashinsky, The Zero Hour. Glasnost and Soviet Cinema in Transition, p. 225

Georgii Shengelaia (b. 1933) graduated from the State Institute of Cinematography in 1963. A student of Aleksandr Dovzhenko and Mikhail Romm. Early Shengelaia has a strong predilection for auteur poetic cinema. Pirosmani brought Shengelaia early fame. In 1973, he made a musical, Melodies of Veriiskii Quarter, set in pre-Revolutionary Tbilisi. The film's propensity for theatricality and stylization made it one of the paradigmatic texts for the Soviet cinema of the 1970s. Prerevolutionary Georgia was the primary setting for most of Shengelaia's films. Since the end of the Soviet Union, Shengelaia started working in commercial genre film. In 1997 Shengelaia made the action thriller Klassik.