'Tangerines' is a benign brotherhood-of-man parable

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

There are some touching interactions between the players in this Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee, but the film’s humanism is too predictably calibrated.

Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films
Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak) in the film 'Tangerines.'

Writer-director Zaza Urushadze’s “Tangerines,” one of the nominees for this year’s best foreign language film Oscar, is a benign brotherhood-of-man parable set in 1992 in a mountain valley in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia in the midst of the ongoing conflicts between Georgians and Chechens.

 Despite the deadly skirmishes, the elderly but still sturdy Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak) has remained behind in the picturesque valley. (What price scenery?) He ends up tending to two wounded combatants: Chechen mercenary Ahmed (a very good Giorgi Nakashidze) and Niko (Mikheil Meskhi), the Georgian soldier he vows to kill (though not in Ivo’s home) when both have recuperated. There are some touching interactions between the players, but the film’s humanism is too predictably calibrated. Grade: B- (This film is not rated.) 

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