Kreditis Limiti (Line of Credit) – Venice 71 Orizzonti
Salomé Alexi is dealing with the sensitive issue of financial crisis in the post-Soviet Georgian society seen from a female point of view.
With Georgian cinema becoming a new favorite in festivals, a number of emerging, mainly female, directors from the Caucasian country are presenting their work to an international audience. Salomé Alexi, who worked as a costume designer before turning into directing, came to Venice with her debut feature film, Line of Credit (Kreditis Limiti), dealing with the sensitive issue of Georgia’s financial crisis, seen from a female point of view. The film participates in the Orizzonti Competition.
Nino (Nino Kasradze) is in her 40’s. She lives in Tbilisi, where she owns a small shop, and she comes from an ex-nomenclaturist family. In her life she did not ever had any financial problems but now she is really struggling to get over her ever-growing debts. Nino wants to live an easy life and satisfy all the materialistic needs that she and her family have. For that reason she gets one loan after the other, from almost everyone, even when the rates are extremely high. It is clear that she got herself and everyone she knows into a deep vicious cycle and there is no hope to overcome her problems.
“Nino’s story is one among 172,300 families, who lost their abode as a result of mortgage loans in 2009-2013. The number of the households makes 14% of Georgia’s population.” This film’s statement sums up the concept behind it. Alexi is trying to depict the bleak reality of modern day Tbilisi, a city and eventually a whole country that remains under the financial crisis’ attack. Literally, the exchange offices and the pawnshops are popping up everywhere and you can find one around each corner. That image alone could be the basis for a deeper research on the causes of the depression but the director does not follow that path and she observes the results as they occur.
Nino portrays a typical example of the first post-Soviet generation and it is suggested that her problems are based on her financial naivety. As a result she is an easy victim to the market created needs and she remains detached from reality. Her female crowded environment can’t really influence her since they have a pure decorative role, with no active participation in any kind of decision. The few male characters are depicted weak and unimportant, a source of controversy for the conservative Georgian society. The film implies that the abrupt introduction to capitalism could be the main reason for today’s crisis and Nino’s character is a proof. Probably this is not the real case. Nino still acts as a spoiled bourgeois heir and she could be exactly like that even without her Soviet past.
Despite the narrative flaws, the film is quite appealing on approaching the theme. Following the Georgian’s cinema tradition of subcutaneous comedies, Alexi did not create a dreary drama, but instead her film feels extremely lightweight and even happy. She breaks the moments of real drama with almost comedic episodes that do not aggravate the topic. Jean-Louis Padis’ cinematography, with vivid colors and almost pop aesthetic, helps towards that feel-good sensation. In addition, all the individual scenes are shot from a distance and with no close-ups, so every episode has its own image. That really helps the rhythm but sometime it gets quite dull.
Line of Credit is dealing with a key issue that could have an impact on Georgian society, but Alexi’s decision not to evolve her initial idea to the right extent makes it a bit repetitive. Furthermore, the monothematic perspective leads to generalization and does not really help the viewer to understand the current situation as a whole. A bolder and less stylized direction could probably bring the film to a more challenging level, without losing its originality.