- Director: Levan Akin
- Writer: Levan Akin
- Producer: Mathilde Dedye; Ketie Danelia
Where [exactly] did tradition get us? Absolutely nowhere, that's where! Okay, okay...a slight concession [for the purists]...it's a good place to start [evolution] from! Evolve...we must.
Levan Akin's film is startling...in its view of [toxic] masculinity within a context that turns its back against any form of toxicity...the world of dance. But, in Georgia...a country landlocked by tradition, constrained by conservatism and dominated by religious devotion...dance is manly, dance is tradition. Dance does not deviate from its origin.
This is a country that sits on a geographical crossroads...and, as Western influences unrelentingly flow in, the strict orthodoxy is being challenged...by the youth...and, by the President who has declared his desire to join the European Union. In 2000, Georgia adopted the Council of Europe's standards relating to the decriminalisation of homosexuality. However, homophobia is a major cause for concern...the Georgian Orthodox Church does not shy away from expressing its [absolute] revulsion of homosexuality.
So...this is where a young, gay, talented dancer finds himself...quite literally, stuck between a rock and a hard place. He finds [requited] love, a [reviled] community and [repressed] expression...he is the 'new' Georgia...with an unenviable fight on his hands.
That fight is expressed through a sensational dance routine...a dance that pays homage to the tradition while daring to evolve. It is dazzling.
And Then We Danced is not an easy watch...but, it is absolutely gripping from start to finish. There are moments of joy, of cruelty, of anger, of frustration, of heartbreak and sadness...of determination...by a determined young man. Levan Gelbakhiani, a professional dancer, in his first film role, simply excels in the vast array of emotions that his character is forced to face, manage and, possibly, conquer.
Levan Akin's film is the voice of the disgruntled. It's bold and brave and beautiful. Easily, one of the finest films of the year.
Merab has been training from a young age at the National Georgian Ensemble with his dance partner Mary. His world turns upside down when the carefree Irakli arrives and becomes both his strongest rival and desire.