Georgia, where the LGBT population still face challenges, is the setting of the gay love story ‘And Then We Danced,’ which is very good thanks to a great script, and great directing and acting.
Swedish director Levan Akin’s (he is of Georgian descent) film id about young men of the National Georgian Ensemble where the typical dance routines are more masculine in nature. Levan Gelbakhiania plays Merab. He desperately wants to dance for the main ensemble but is still struggling at the junior level, and is given great support by his partner Mary (Ana Javakhishvili). Merab lives with his mother, grandmother and lazy brother, all in a flat where the money is hard to come by and where the electricity gets turned off because the bill is not paid. One day a new dancer, Irakli (Bachi Valishvili) joins the junior ensemble, and soon enough him and Merab are among the few who have been chosen to audition for the main ensemble – both of their dreams. But on a weekend away with other dancers, Mareb and Irakli finally get to act on the chemistry that they had when they first met. But with the audition days away and bad news from back home which might impact Irakli’s chances, will their newfound relationship survive?
When ‘And Then We Danced’ premiered in Georgia, it was met with protests and violence. But it’s an achievement, both in it’s telling of a gay love story in a country where gay love stories don’t exist (its also a story a story about forbidden love), and achievement in film because the story is beautifully told (written by Akin), and the acting is realistic by two leads who had no acting experience prior to this film. A must film to watch while you pass the time away at home.
Review by Tim Baros