Winner of the Best International Narrative Feature at Tribeca Film Festival, “BRIGHTON 4TH” is noted as being a ‘Comedy/Drama’ which made me do a double take at that one. Drama – yes, in a big way, yet Comedy just didn’t seem to be it’s forte’ as what I watched from director Levan Koguashvili, truly left nothing comedic in it’s path.
It is however a long drawn out story of a former wrestling champion Kakhi (Levan Tediashvili – an actual former Olympic wrestler), who seemingly feels he needs to take on the responsibility for everyone around him and their problems. The story follows his long drawn out trek from his native Georgia to the well-known Russian enclave of Brighton Beach, where many of his fellow countrymen have immigrated to as well. His son Soso (Giorgi Tabidze), went to study medicine, but needs a green card and Khaki had given him $15,000 to do so and if necessary, pay Lena (Nadezhda Mikalkova) to marry him. Instead he is working as a mover and has gambled away the money plus an additional $14,000 he now owes to head of the gambling mob. Khaki finds him in a small room & board house ran by the wife of his best friend who also ended up gambling away his money. Now he seeks to find a solution to it all and while we go through a good hour plus of side stories that include: Kakhi taking a job helping out an elderly couple, and getting sexually propositioned by the wife; as well as a very lengthy deviation that involves Kahki in the midst of a plan to kidnap a man who’s been refusing to pay the Georgian women he hires as hotel maids. All these things relay nothing to the point of the film – what the main goal is – saving his son’s life from the mobsters he owes money to.
We finally get to the point in the final minutes of the film, as it has Khaki challenging the head mobster whom his son owes, to a wrestling match as even though Kakhi is in his 70’s and is at least 20 years older, he does it to take care of the debt his son owes. Oddly, it’s a surprisingly believable moment, even in it’s bleakness. While the acting here is mostly done by non-actors as well, they too are believable within reason. But it’s the length of time that it took to even get to the point here that made it too sluggish and weighed down, and while going through storylines that didn’t lead anywhere. Also, the fact of the oh-so-familiar mob-lines of Russian/Georgian immigrant community in Brighton Beach has a ‘been there – done that’ feel to it all. While the final moment is sweet in it’s own way, it’s the ‘getting there’ long windedness that just didn’t work as well for me as it clearly did for others.
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Tribeca Virtual screening of ‘’Brighton 4th” ~ courtesy of Susan Norget Film Promotion
“BRIGHTON 4TH” DEBUTED AT TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL JUNE 2021