Otar has really departed in the superb family drama Since Otar Left…. His aged mother back in Tbilisi (mesmerizing, 90-year-old Esther Gorintin) thinks her beloved son is working in Paris, but the resentful daughter (Nino Khomassouridze) and restless granddaughter (Dinara Droukarova) with whom she shares a flat know a far more tragic truth. Should they tell?
Lies are sustained out of itchy bonds of love in this striking feature debut by Julie Bertuccelli, and bickering coexists at ease with intimacy. Drawing on her documentary training, the director distills complex meaning into such perfectly chosen gestures as a foot rubbed, a cigarette smoked, a shampoo interrupted when (with post-Soviet-era regularity) the water fails.