In Bloom, directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, is a fascinating coming of age story of two teenage girls growing up in Georgia in the early 1990’s, shortly after it gained independence from the Soviet Union. The story revolves around the friendship of Eka (Lika Babluani) and Natia (Mariam Bokeria) as they navigate difficult bad relationships and difficult economic times and threats of violence associated with both.
I went to a pre-festival talk given by the artistic directors and they spoke to the numerous excellent performances by children actors in this year’s festival. My first day provided evidence of this between the very young actors in The Rocket and the two leads in In Bloom. The directors specifically mentioned the dance sequence performed by Babluani and it is definitely a stunning cinematic moment. Watched in isolation, this sequence may not be all that impressive, but it is the perfect culmination and expression of all the drama leading up to it.
The film isn’t so much about what happens but about how what happens affects the friendship of these two girls. Many of the elements of their lives–fighting parents, arguments with siblings, bullying at school–are common elements of these types of coming of age stories. However, In Bloom is able to transcend these tropes and provide a moving experience thanks mostly to the stellar performances of Babluani and Bokeria.
Using the festival’s scoring system, I ranked this Very Good or 4 out of a possible 5.
Check out all my 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival posts!