A Gay Film Sent an Entire Nation Into a Frenzy

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12/17/2019

Conflicts around gender and sexuality are often indicators of social tension. A recent public clash over the screening of a film in Tbilisi gives insight into the fault lines of contemporary politics in Georgia. Georgia’s democratic gains have been seriously tested by the ruling party backtracking on electoral reforms. Politics is growing increasingly polarized, and last month the gulf between the far-right and progressive values erupted in violent confrontation outside a cinema where the story of a romance between two men unfolded on screen. The film And Then We Danced, which plunges viewers into the world of the Georgian National Ballet, is by Swedish-born filmmaker Levan Akin, (who is of Georgian descent), and is Sweden’s “Best International Feature” entry for the 2020 Oscars. And Then We Danced opened for a limited, three-day screening on November 8, prompting fervent backlash from far right and religious groups, who reacted to the gay theme as a threat to their way of life and to Georgian tradition.

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