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History, memory, water: the reclamation of Georgian identity in Irakli Kvirikadze's The Swimmer

Graffy, J.; (2007) History, memory, water: the reclamation of Georgian identity in Irakli Kvirikadze's The Swimmer. Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema , 1 (3) pp. 299-327. 10.1386/srsc.1.3.299_1.

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Abstract

Irakli Kvirikadze's film The Swimmer, made in 1981, but not released in its full form until 1987, traces the fates of three members of the same Georgian family through sequences set in 1913, 1947 and the film's present. It uses the metaphor of swimming to examine questions of Georgian culture and identity both within its narrow surface timescale and over the whole of Georgian history. This article seeks to examine the ways in which The Swimmer re-asserts Georgian identity in the context of Soviet experience. It looks at the film's allusions to Georgian history from the Kingdom of Colchis, visited by Jason and the Argonauts, through the Greek, Roman, Christian and Ottoman periods, to the late Tsarist era, the Russian Revolution and the Stalin years. The Swimmer is also a film about its own making, and its other central concern is the questions raised by attempts to ‘film the past’. Like other films of the period, it examines the way in which art and memory combine to attempt to provide historical understanding.

Type:Article
Title:History, memory, water: the reclamation of Georgian identity in Irakli Kvirikadze's The Swimmer
DOI:10.1386/srsc.1.3.299_1
Publisher version:http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/srsc.1.3.299_1
Language:English
Keywords:Georgian history, Georgian culture, Black Sea, memory, swimming, Stalin
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies)

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