Expectations – When and How Culture Would Reflect Conflict’s Traumatic Experience

In the late 90s, a persistent question was present within the Georgian media and culture: why were the history and context of conflicts not “properly” reflected in the modern Georgian literature or cinema and why there was no artistic reflection on the matter of the human tragedies that comprised the conflicts.1 I use the word “properly” in inverted commas since I am still unsure what exactly it means. There were only a handful of answers to this question or arguments, and therefore, it is not hard to remember even today. The most common response was the following: the war as an event was so sudden, tragic, dramatic, and shocking to the peace-accustomed Georgian society, that it would have been impossible to react to it right away. 

One of the main arguments as to why artistic reflection on war and conflict was delayed concerned pre-war tensions and later the danger of re-emergence of war-generated stereotypes in fiction. Most likely, the authors of this argument viewed fictional texts as relatively higher-class than “perishable” media products. However, if we look at the broader picture and assess all the texts as messages intended for a specific effect, in the end, it will not matter if, in addition to media, there have been any other platforms complementing the circulation of stereotypes.

Likewise, there was one of the not-so-unfounded arguments claiming that as opposed to the victorious one, the party who lost needs more time to comprehend what happened, and arguably, the loser never writes the story of their failure. It takes many years for shame, and the rage induced by this very shame, to subside and allow generalizing, abstracting, and artistic transformation. The argument was not unfounded, but it was very damaging. According to this logic, the stories of people who died, or of people dying a quick or slow death, those suffering, mourning the dead, unable to forget what they saw, people who have been living in exile while searching for a new identity in the dark, would gradually become completely forgotten, because oral collective memory does not retain the true picture of events for long. There was another misconception in the logic of this argument: if the history of conflicts and wars was to be written, it would have to be a single homogeneous narrative or ideology. Ideology, on the other hand, has its meanings and signs, myths, and symbols that may have been relevant in a particular point in history, but they could be found overly artificial in a broader retrospective. In truth, if people and the names of geographical places, actions, consequences, and responsibility for these consequences were to be forgotten, then the second or third generation of internationally displaced persons (IDP) would have known very little about their native places, and that would have become a generation with erased layers of identity and belonging. It was that generation and its interests that were ignored by another argument, which was often presented in the form of rhetorical questions: Who should write and shoot movies? Should we self-communicate our own experience? Should we tell ourselves the stories of wars and shattered lives? Are we not already aware of the sacrifices made by all parties to the conflict? In fact, this was an ultimatum to the current generation: those who lost the wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia had to “catch up with their mistakes” and correct them in the present. Those were chaotic times with many “ifs” and many unrealistic conditions. For the proponents of this argument, the war as an event was not yet over or, at least, not in a sense to have had any sort of ideological resolution. Such an approach excluded Abkhazians and Ossetians from the communication process as the recipients of the message.

The first signs of reflection could be traced in fiction in the second half of the 1990s. It was seen only in a few short-lived editions, magazines, and almanacs. Many young writers and poets joined the war as volunteers, and they matured through being close to war and death. They began depicting what they had seen and experienced in an artistic discourse. It was rather a specific genre that depicted the triple reflection of the event: the event itself as a part of physical reality, its reflection in the author’s consciousness and conscious reflection activated and presented through the signs and codes of the text. This was not a study of “the science of hatred” as these works mostly concerned the motivation of volunteer fighters: Why did they go to war? What did the war look like from afar and what did it actually look like? How did the war change people? What is the price of an immature, romantic, or infantile act in the brutal reality of war? Specifically, this genre was a spontaneous fusion of documentary and feature, where it was unnecessary to draw a sharp line between reality and fiction. Notably, Abkhazians were excluded from the communication process here as well.

The 2008 war, the occupation, and the absolute alienation that followed the war seemed to have a shocking effect on Georgian society and forced it to re-evaluate its views on the events of the 1990s radically. The Abkhazian civil activists and authors who had been reminding Georgians of their conscience – a process which had some form of expectation in it – disappeared completely from the Georgian media. They disappeared because of fear and despair. The occupation did not turn out to be the goal that Abkhazians fought the war against Georgians for. The occupation turned out to be a more significant trauma than a war with each other. This is the sad reality. 

The Other Bank, Tangerines, and Corn Island, or Films about Conflict Experience from Different Perspectives

In this article, we will present a narrative analysis of three feature films from the 2010s. They have gained international recognition and turned into a form of a milestone in cinematography and the history of conflicts. The creator of their history and culture is a nation rather than an individual, so we can view these films as a shared experience of Georgians and as a shared sense of identity. We have chosen these movies for analysis both because of those reasons and their international recognition. 

Gaghma napiri (The Other Bank, Giorgi Ovashvili, 2009). The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 7, 2009, in the competition program “Generation.” The same year, the film was screened in 30 countries, at 50 international film festivals. The Other Bank has won 31 international prizes.

Mandarinebi (Tangerines, Zaza Urushadze, 2013) is a Georgian-Estonian project that came to life with the support of Eurimages. Most of the funding originated from the Estonian side, which reserved the right to nominate it for the Golden Globes and Oscars. At the Warsaw International Film Festival, Tangerines won two nominations for Best Director and Audience Award, as well as an Award of the Estonian Guild of Film Journalists, and Audience Award at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Festival. Tangerines was nominated both for the Golden Globe and the Oscar to the Best Foreign Film. The film won in total 20 Grand Prix and special jury prizes at international film festivals for directing and other categories.

Simindis kundzuli (Corn Island, Giorgi Ovashvili, 2014), according to the annotation of the film, it addresses “a struggle between man and nature and an attempt at harmonious coexistence, the protection and preservation of ideals, the desire to break through a closed circle, a love story and Abkhaz-Georgian relations.” Corn Island is the winner of the 2014 Karlovy Vary Festival. The film received positive reviews from critics, with Variety calling it “An astonishing feat of cinema presented with the utmost modesty,”2 and describing the film as having Tarkovsky-style aesthetics. Corn Island won the Best Actress and Best Director Awards at the San Marino International Film Festival. At Montpellier International Film Festival, the film won the top prize, the Golden Antigone, Critics’ Choice Award, Best Music Award, and Audience Award. Georgia nominated Corn Island for the Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film.

On the Principles of Narrative as a Background of Method

Modern humanities and social sciences borrowed the term “narrative” from historiography, namely from the concept of Narrative History by Arnold J. Toynbee, based on which, rather than being “objective,” the meaning of a historical event arises in the narratives of that event and is inextricably linked to a personal, subjective interpretation.3

Modern academia recognized the fact of emergence of a multi-faceted understanding of the concept of narrative, which attracted the attention of scholars in various fields. This means that the cultural and social space has become an object of narrative research. Representatives of all domains used a single methodological basis as a starting point – equating reality and text, as a result of which the focus of interdisciplinary research on narrative shifted from the study of social values and norms to the study of the formation of meaning.

Narrative is about the placement of feelings of author and receiver in time, and about the placement of events and actions in a single continuous time mode. Academic framework of narrative offered a method of reducing any text to its individual structural units (for example, to the function of the actors in the case of Vladimir Propp’s theory) or to a set of characters grouped into codes (up to five narrative codes in the case of Roland Barthes). Narrative studies distinguished between plot and story (the concept was introduced by Russian formalists Viktor Shklovsky, Boris Eichenbaum, Boris Tomashevsky) – the natural chronological-logical sequence of events (as it happened “in real life”) and the sequence of the events the way they are narrated which resulted in some sort of a synthetic formula: narrative = history/story (as the basis of a narrative that allows us to distinguish narrative texts from non-narrative) + storyline (text/discourse, paradigm).4

Before the analysis, we should note that the purpose of this article is to discuss the principles of narrative directly (instead of assessing the artistic value of the films), and it is only relevant as far as the methods of analysis of the films are concerned. Therefore, the method that we will be using for analysing The Other Bank, Tangerines, and Corn Island is synthetic. By synthesis, we mean the analysis of the films based on the syntagmatic and paradigmatic dimensions of the narrative. For the theoretical framework of analysis, we will use the classical structuralist framework: the morphological structure of the Proppian text and the Barthesian narrative codes.

The aim of the article is to study and highlight whether there are any textual regularities in the fictional texts of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict: what function does war hold there: is it the background, the context where the narrative takes place (i.e., the sema code), or is it some form of precondition defining the relations between the actors, some form of knowledge about the relations with each other (code of reference); what is the meaning of the land, the native place in the search for identity of the actors, and so on.

A feature film combines two types of texts: narrative and descriptive. In the theory of narratology, not all authors distinguish between narrative and description. For example, within the realms of the same school, Roland Barthes considers the code of description of the character and atmosphere of action as one of the codes of narrative and even as a determinant of other codes (including cultural and symbolic ones), though description and narration form different classes of texts for Tzvetan Todorov. Unlike literary narrative, cinematic narrative does not have the past tense, but is contemporaneous with the narration. Proppian analysis viewed a tale as an archetypal text which is strictly subordinate to a morphological structure.5

In his book, Genres in Discourse, TzvetanTodorov divides the syntagmatic chain of Propp (31 functions) into five stages: (1) the opening situation equilibrium; (2) the degradation of the situation; (3) a state of disequilibrium recognised by the hero; (4) quest and discovery; (5) the re-establishment of the initial equilibrium – return home.6 All these stages include several groups of functions of characters and objects (those of a hero, a villain, and a magic thing) discovered by Propp.

The analysis of the films we have selected will follow these stages and phases and will view each in the context of the storyline. At each stage, we will also outline the functions of narrative based on the pragmatic features of narrative, such as social functions: identification (when the narrator or protagonist identifies himself/herself as a member of a specific society), representational functions (self-representation of the characters by themselves or the narrator (the camera) during their meetings), psychological functions: psychotherapeutic (“thinking together” and “comparing experiences” in a critical situation), and prognostic (rumours, views).


The Opening Situation Equilibrium 

The story-line origin in The Other Bank is an ordinary day for a 12-year-old boy, Tedo, shutting the porch door of a wooden house and setting off to make a living. Most likely, this would happen on a daily basis. He wears someone else’s clothes that do not fit his body. The clothes of a person older than him are a sign of incompatibility of age and lifestyle rather than mere hardship. The camera starts narrating the adventure of the boy from this point. But syntagmatically, based on the sequence of events, the starting point of the story is Tkvarcheli, eight years ago, a small town in Abkhazia that the boy and his mother, along with other Georgian residents, had to flee in order to escape the war. They left behind the boy’s father whom doctors forbade to move due to a heart attack. We learn about this later in Tedo’s story, but we do not know whether the character is telling the truth. Maybe his father’s heart attack was made up for the sake of survival, as his mother’s death is. These were the two starting points of the equilibrium which will later destabilise turning Tedo’s life upside down.

The Other Bank. Everyday life in the city.

The situational starting point in Tangerines is the workshop of an ethnic Estonian man living in Abkhazia, where carpenter Ivo is making boxes for his tangerine crops. The Estonian community was completely withdrawn by the Estonian government immediately after the start of the conflict. An Estonian doctor and Ivo’s neighbour Margus, the owner of yet another tangerine orchard, are preparing to leave. Only Ivo is not leaving. This is the enigmatic code of the narrative: why does not Ivo go to Estonia, where his entire family has already gone? The whole narrative, to a certain extent, is aimed at answering this very question, and this answer is actually the starting point for the storyline: Ivo’s son is one of the first victims of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict – an Estonian boy who considered Abkhazia his native land died by the hand of Georgian fighters. At the beginning of the film’s story, Ivo being Estonian and only caring for the tangerine crops is one visible pole of contrast, a deceptive sign of “non-alignment”, but the secret revealed at the end of the film (the second and, at first, invisible pole of the contrast) – his son having been killed by Georgians became the real beginning of the movie and served as a catalyst for the narrative, which explains a lot and determines many of Ivo’s actions. The radio in Ivo’s house and the information transmitted through it is a peculiar code, and each of its signs indicates the impending danger for him.

The initial equilibrium of storyline of Corn Island is conveyed in the initial titles of the film in the form of written text. This is the story of the annual islands the Enguri River creates. During the spring rainy season, the Enguri carries large amounts of fertile and loose soil from the Caucasus Mountains, then spreads it across the lowlands and forms islands. An Abkhazian farmer moves to this new land to plant a cornfield with his granddaughter. “Nobody’s Land,” “New Land” has a wide connotation from the very beginning of the film. The first words the girl says to her grandfather on the island are “Is this their [Georgians] land?” If this is no man’s land, if it is a land on its own, then the “neutrality” in the response of the grandfather means “the innocence” of the land: this is the land the Abkhazians and Georgians did not fight for, it is a bloodless land where a new life can be built. It is possible to launch an illusory renewal here, even for a short time, for a year, until the autumn rains, until river Enguri itself takes its own creation back – no one owes anything to anyone for living on this land, and no one needs permission to live here. However, in the very first scenes of the film, it becomes clear that there is no new or no man’s land in this conflict. The grandfather examines the soil by hand and suddenly removes a cartridge-case from the soil. The owner of the cartridge-case, who once lived on this land, created a “human memory” of this land. The cartridge-case is empty, which means the bullet did its job, and the cartridge-case, in the form of an index and a mark of death, arrived to the grandfather as a message: what will he choose?

Corn Island. First steps into the new nobody’s land.

The Degradation of the Situation

According to Propp, narrative begins when one of the family members leaves the house (goes away, dies), and in the context of this departure, if the protagonist is banned or requested to do something, he/she is granted the will to do so or with a certain challenge to fulfill.7 There is no clear dividing line between these stages in the films.

In The Other Bank, leaving of the house by one of the family members can be viewed from several perspectives: the father staying in Tkvarcheli or the alienation of the mother from the family life. It was that day Tedo identified himself realistically. It was the day he saw what sort of life his reality and his environment demanded from him. This is one version of the prohibition: you have to live like this and get used to such life. It was the day he felt some pseudo-compassion for being an IDP, and received some money. That day he realized he had some sort of “label” attached to himself that made him different from others. He realized he was powerless regarding his mother’s lifestyle, and before her armed lover. He understood that he and another homeless IDP boy would not always be able to steal money and support the family with it. He realized that he could not replace his father. On the same day, he heard that it was impossible for him to find his father because Abkhazians would “catch and screw him.” He was told that “Abkhazians drink the blood of Georgians” and “play football with the heads cut off from Georgians.” He heard the story of that boy’s father shot by Abkhazians in his own yard, and then they tied a wire rope to his feet and dragged the body to the centre of the village. Prior knowledge, real or imagined, gossip or rumour, is part of the equilibrium, of the realization that there is no place for a little IDP boy neither on this nor the other bank. Tedo, however, still violated the imposed prohibition and the deadly equilibrium. Resentful of his mother, he still decided to go after his father – everything was clear on this bank (“My mother died”), but on the other bank there is still some hope and a few “what ifs.”

The Other Bank. Tedo on the bridge.

In Tangerines the balance is shattered when the armed Chechen Ahmed appears in Ivo’s yard and his workshop. For Ahmed weapons and his mercenary status (he is paid, worthy, Ahmed has a price) are an advantage over Ivo, giving him the right to tell him what to do (“Go to Estonia”), to make him feel his superiority (to demand something for the service), and to check his trustworthiness. However, Ahmed’s appearance in Ivo’s workshop was only the first sign indicating that from that moment on nothing would be the same. After a while, Ivo hears an explosion and finds both Ahmed and a Georgian fighter wounded. There were fighters from two opposing sides in Ivo’s house: a Chechen mercenary and a Georgian volunteer, theatre actor Nika, already a motivational paradigm. At this stage of the narrative there are two mutually exclusive explanations of Ivo’s prohibitions: the prohibition by Abkhazian-Russian police towards Ivo from providing a shelter to a Georgian fighter, which Ivo violated by accepting his son’s death as another prohibition – not letting anyone else to die. This function of prohibition is based on Ivo’s own experience. From the perspective of narrative philosophy, this prohibition can be viewed as a function of the “narrative of stability” or the “narrative of progress.” Ivo’s own experience/trauma toward the departure/death of his son forced him to make sure that “if he did not become better at least he would not get worse than he had been,” so he turned his house into a place of forced peace for the two opposing sides. In order for Ahmed and Nika to understand (or at least accept) the “forced peace,” he explains that he was doing it for his own safety and offered them to find ways of fooling the Abkhazian-Russian police “together.”

Tangerines. Magnus, Ivo and Ahmed (from left to right).

In Corn Island, the prohibition applies to the life on the island itself: Georgian and Abkhazian border patrols who emerged one after the other observed the grandfather and the granddaughter with suspicion or unhealthy interest. Their circling of the island from time to time and watching the girl through binoculars is a warning which should be followed by the emergence of the main antagonist (according to Propp, at first the villain starts tracking and gathering information about the victim before actually harming him/her). A Georgian border guard boy, who likes the girl, unintentionally becomes the cause of the death of the “innocent land” and the illusions related to it. He is not an antagonist in a classical sense, but just a man from the “enemy” side whose ordeal brought him to this island to find a “mute” (without any dialogue) love with an Abkhazian girl. The provocative game of catch in the cornfield, which is both struggle and passion, was part of a paradigm code only decoded at the end of the film.

The State of Disequilibrium Observed by the Hero. Quest and Discovery 

These two stages of narrative are almost combined in the films I enquire. After going through the stage of imbalance, the viewer suddenly asks: Who lost what? What are they looking for? Is there anyone who can help them find what they lost? Will they even find the lost one? Is it even possible to find him/her/it? In narrative theory, these stages are generally the most dynamic, loaded with action codes, and it usually comes at the culmination of narrative, and from there on, it is a descent down to the end of the story. In the films that we analyse the development of the story does not always follow these patterns.

In The Other Bank the narrative ends where the story begins, when the boy arrives in Tkvarcheli. The film tells us about Tedo’s adventures before Tkvarcheli and meeting his neighbour Maro. She told the boy the story of his father: in order to survive he married the Abkhazian woman next door and now has two daughters; Tedo will have to meet them, they are his sisters. The road to Tkvarcheli is divided into two parts, before Enguri Bridge and after it, although one part of the narrative also refers to the bridge itself as a kind of “purgatory.” Before the Enguri Bridge, the boy’s decision to go to Tkvarcheli to his father is met with distrust. They do not believe that it is possible for someone to have a desire to get to the other bank; Tedo is just an IDP child who is hiding a strange intention in his heart under the IDP umbrella. This is the reference code for the post-war Georgian culture. After crossing the bridge, in each scene it becomes clear that the boy is not unexpected, but just rare (almost exceptional) and awkward – to the degree that his crossing the bridge can hurt both him and his hosts. Here, in this culture, IDP has a different connotation. On the bridge, Tedo sees that the war between Georgians and Abkhazians has brought criminals on both sides closer together. In a place where there is no control, it is easier for Georgian thieves to hand over stolen cars to Abkhazian accomplices. That is why the group in the red SUV with “the UN number plate” comes to Enguri Bridge, and on their way, they pick up Tedo, who had been thrown from a train. However, later they have to throw him out of the car too. Tedo cannot tolerate their attempt to rape the girl they picked up on the way. He also feels responsible: the girl was lured into the car because of him (“How can we try doing anything bad with a child in the car?”). On the bridge, Tedo realizes that this is not just a bridge – it can become a gateway to death for anyone who refuses to pay tribute to Russian peacekeepers or opposes them. 

The Other Bank. Tedo’s new companion pays with his life.

This is how a young Megrelian or Abkhazian man dies in front of Tedo, the one who praises Tedo for his courage and suggested staying with him that night and even offered him a glass of wine according to the rules of the elders. In terms of structure, the scene in the house of Daur and Zita was built on a contrast between night and morning. This is the house where Tedo was brought by a kind man to spend the night. This is the house where there is no light and the sad housewife walks around with a lamp in her hand, where Tedo is frightened by a strange, incomprehensible, harsh Abkhazian dialogue between Daur and his wife and the sound of a cuckoo jumping out of the clock… The hosts’ son, who probably died during the war, is looking down from the photo on the wall. Frightened Tedo (as if driven by guilt) falls asleep under the bed, and in the morning wakes up in a spell-lifted house – ironed and cleaned clothes by his bed, Georgian-speaking hosts, and hot khachapuri, which “would be a shame not to eat.”

In the beginning of Tangerines, the protagonist and antagonist are not a Georgian and an Abkhaz, but a Georgian and a Chechen fighting in Abkhazia. The representative function of the narrative broaches land and identity in the protagonist introducing scene. For Nika Abkhazian land is Georgian land, which he volunteered to defend in the war, while Ahmed reminds him that he is on Abkhazian soil sitting on an Estonian chair. Ahmed explains that he came to Abkhazia to defend a “small nation” from those like Nika. The viewer does not fully understand whether the police, suspecting the harbouring of a Georgian fighter, who came to Ivo from time to time, is Abkhazian or mixed. One thing is clear, the man who (no matter whether he does it actually or potentially) kills Nika, Ivo, and Ahmed is a Russian, cruel and jealous, whom neither a Chechen nor an Estonian can trust. It is not clear in the film when or why Nika turned from Ahmed’s foe into his rescuer or how Ahmed deserved his goodwill, but according to the formal structure of narrative, this is the stage when a protagonist or other character is tested and his attitude changes.

In Corn Island, the grandfather finds a wounded Georgian border guard in his cornfield and decides to take care of him. He is aware that Georgians are looking for their friend, that the Abkhazian police is looking for a “wounded dog” who cannot go far and if he stumbles upon the grandfather’s island, he must inform them. The grandfather breaks all prohibitions, but he is unable to numb the instinct as a parent and the girl’s caretaker. The old man is afraid of the mutual interest between his granddaughter and the Georgian border guard, who is her first love. He leaves the island for a little while to take his granddaughter away. Upon his return, he sees an open door, and the wounded person is nowhere to be seen; it is not clear whether he was taken by the Georgians or the Abkhazians, although the events that took place in the end show that the recovered and healed Georgian border guard most likely fell into the hands of Abkhazians. The colours in the scene then change. The summer sun is replaced by the grey and sad autumn sky, the sound of rain at night drowns out the sound of a girl crying, the rain weighs down daily on the roof of the hut and soaks up its supporting pillars – these metaphors of the feeling of loss with the overly explicit meaning, make the finale predictable. The boat that carries the harvested corn, where the girl travels is taken away by the Enguri… and the grandfather dies with his hut and his land.

Corn Island. The girl’s last harvest.

New Equilibrium, Returning Home as an Epilogue

A corn island and a new land are born next spring. Another man is leaving the boat, and similar to the grandfather, he examines the soil with his hand, but instead of a cartridge-case, the girl’s doll appears in his hands, a sign of femininity and unrealized motherhood nobody needed and, therefore, nobody stole… just like Tedo has no need for a plastic duck on wheels either…. These are the signs of peace and a carefree state that will take long to arrive in a place of broken windows. Tedo, discovered by Abkhaz warriors in a forest shelter, tries to gain their trust by a crazy dance, mimicking theirs but more riotously, and with eyes wide shut. And these eyes are soothed only by the ghosts of an addict – a savannah with calm long-necked giraffes…. In the Tangerines, Ivo is left with two graves to take care of, two victims buried side by side, his son and Nika. Will Ivo return to his workshop? His last carpentry job was to chisel Nika and Margus coffins.

Tangerines. Face to face to a new equilibrium.


In narratology, it is not uncommon to see that not all codes in a text (action, sema, cultural or symbolic references) can be activated with equal intensity and in equal number in order to forge meanings. Yet it is the proportions of the codes that form the ideological setting of a narrative. In our opinion, this proportion becomes a carrier of socially important information, because the external (i.e. real-world signals and messages) is voiced or corresponded differently by the narrative codes which they “translate” into an artistic idea. If there is a narrative, there is an experience, a knowledge that does not stay in the passive repository of consciousness and has a potential to act. The narrative provided in these films is a metaphor for social space, the space of Georgian-Abkhazian relations. The socio-cultural function of narrative in these films lies in facilitating the creation of discourses belonging for different individuals or groups, even opposing ones. When we voice the postulate “knowledge tops action,” we have the three main functions of these fictional texts in mind: creating new information, transmitting this information, and saving it (moving it to the memory repository). The latter function manifests itself in relation to other cultural traditions (as Bakhtin called it – “the memory of genre”8). Knowledge is part of the context, the background for perception of future narratives in Georgian-Abkhazian relations; this is and will be the systemic environment that reflects and strengthens the dynamically changing relations between Georgians and Abkhazians in their consciousness. When the action code slows down or cuts, narrative slows down as well, though referential and cultural codes come to the fore as the codes of knowledge and experience, as an “imbalance” bringing together the story. These films also reflect this imbalance. Here narrative introduces its filter: the attitude filter. Change and changing are possible, maybe not immediately but eventually, “If we do not get better, we won’t turn worse at least.”


  1. The issue was raised by the journalists of the Georgian weeklies 7 dghe (1991-1996) and Akhali 7 dghe (1998-2010) in discussions and interviews with Georgian writers. The topic was covered in both weeklies by journalists Leah Toklikishvili and Maya Gogoladze. The guests invited for discussions included writers such as Lasha Tabukashvili, Rezo Tabukashvili Jr., and Mikhail Gegeshidze, among others. See for example, Leah Toklikishvili, “When Shells and Muses Are Silent”, Akhali 7 dghe, 14-21 April 1998.
  2. Peter Debruge, “Film Review: ‘Corn Island’,” Variety, 13 July 2014.
  3. Arnold J. Toynbee, Surviving the Future (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).
  4. The concepts of history and discourse were introduced by Émile Benveniste. By history he means what is told, and by discourse the way it is told. Thus, history is very much like a fabula, but discourse is a broader concept than a storyline.
  5. Vladimir Propp, Морфология волшебной сказки (Morfologiya volshevnoy skazki) (Leningrad: Academia, 1928). (Editor’s note: There is a classical English translation by Laurence Scott: Morphology of the Folktale (Austin: Texas University Press, 1971), revised in 2010.)
  6. Tzvetan Todorov, Genres in Discourse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 29.
  7. Propp, p. 37.
  8. See Mikhail Bakhtin, Эстетика словесного творчества (Estetika slovesnogo tvorchestva = Aesthetics of Verbal Creation) (Moscow: Isskustvo,1986).

About The Author

Khatuna Maisashvili is Associate Professor at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. She got her PhD in Mass Communication at Ilia State University (Tbilisi, Georgia).

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