Mutso, The Hinterland

 

Hinterland 1“The valleys on the other side”, Pirikita Khevsureti. This is the name given to the north-eastern Georgian territory boardering Chechina. The population of Khevsureti was resettled by the Stalin regime in the plains in the 1950’s and this emptied villages came to symbolise the land of “brave warriors”, “romantic poets” and all that is glorious about the Georgian past. « I am a Georgian, son of the Caucasus Mountains » chant students as they learn to read.

Hinterland 2The legends I had been told about this remote region during my first stay in Georgia took a whole new meaning when, four years ago, I met Nodzari Daiauri and the Khevsurian community from the village of Mutso. Nodzari is confident he can revive the village and its myths by his mere presence, by the strength of his arms and imagination.

The rest of the Mutso community lives in the lower lands. Every summer, they go to Khevsureti and venerate the sacred stones of the village and the angels who watch over the community. Because they grew up during the Soviet era, nobody taught them how to carry out these rituals. They say that the words, the gestures should come on their own, but they don’t. So, they invent from far away souvenirs, from what they have read in legends, from the imaginary that has been built around the hinterlands. Nodzari is very critical of them: he wants to convey the « true » Khevsur spirit to his son.

Like all mythical places, Mutso exists in the imagination, desires and dreams of those who make it live. “Mutso, The Hinterlands” is a film about a forgotten land that men invent from generation, to generation.

Excerpts from Mutso, The Hinterland

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