Movie: 13 [Tzameti] (2005)
Director: Géla Babluani
Genre: Thriller / Drama
Rating: 7 /10
One of the better things that I didn’t do with Tzameti, fortunately, was…read up on it (as I usually do), before I went in to see it. All I knew about it was that it was French, has reaped many an award, and that it had a run time of 90 odd minutes. What I didn’t know was its writer/director Gela Babluani was just 26 years old when he made the film, it was done so on a shoestring budget (he got his own bro to act…and got it right with George Babluani) and that it was his debut film. Over the years, watching many a films, have made me realize that I had a thing for debutants…I would have begun to see movie with an elevated sense of respect, had I known that beforehand…
The very first set of questions that hits one:
1) What does Tzameti mean?
2) Why was it made in black & white?
The first one is google-able…13 in Norwegian is what it stand for.
The second is not so easy to find…everything from low budget to film noir inspirations to a clinical treatment has been attributed to the use of B&W. I thought it was deliberate…perhaps to take the focus off the extreme blood and gore that forms an integral part of this and let the script take centrestage, or simply…to be different. But I see that there is something going on with the French rediscovering B&W, with French animation industry forking out Renaissance, acting as a reiteration. But, what B&W did end up doing for Tzameti was something that even the best of colors and FX could not have done…make the film extra dark, gloomy and effective with reference to the script. This was one director…who knew exactly how to deal with the script ;)!
What stands out, and makes Tzameti Tzameti…is the plot. Nail biting…makes you sit upright in your seat and say….WTF :O!!! Through the initial 30 odd minutes of the film…one thinks, “Hell…where’s the thriller in this Thriller movie?” And then it happens…the thrill…the chill and the reason for all those myriad awards. A get-rich-quick scheme gone horrendously awry is the basic theme of the film. The entire thing explodes in one instance, your jaw drops, hits the floor and then the film slips into its aftermath. Here’s where the movie failed according to me…while the ‘well-left-alone’ aftermath was what hit it big with some critics. I have always been driven by good scripts…and to me Tzameti was just a good plot. There was no sustenance that was provided to that initial Wow effect…and the story eventually dwindled to predictability.
I had a post movie discussion with a friend of movie, who is a great movie freak in himself and he was evidently enamored by the Babluanis and Tzameti. When I told him about the lacking gratifying feel of the film as a whole, I came in for some good natured sarcasm, for the fact that I didn’t appreciate the movie as it was I got told off by saying that, “ You would have preferred a Brad Pitt.” What he didn’t understand was that I never had no problem with the actors…I had no problems even with the film…I just thought that somewhere along the way Gela could have sat a little longer with his script, and concocted a well construed finale, which needn’t have been a twist…but something more palpable than a half-hearted revenge!
All said and done…a good movie…and a grand debut!!!