In Bloom is a coming of age drama about two 14-year-old girls in Georgia -- think birthplace of Josef Stalin, not Lester Maddox or Jimmy Carter; Tbilisi, not Atlanta. It’s 1992, right after the Soviet Union has collapsed, and Georgia is embroiled in a war with a would-be self governing region (or something like that).
This is little-known terrain for Yankee auds, and screenwriter/co-director Nana Ekvtimishvili’s scripts takes us into this far off land with an absorbing story loosely based on her own experiences growing up there. In Bloom has a bit of a French New Wave feel to it and I found this feature to be quite engrossing, as the teenaged females try to make their ways in a troubled society. Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria are quite fetching as Eka and Natia, the two teens growing up in a time of deep dislocation.
Unfortunately, there was an interjection of unnecessary violence so that, as with many Hollywood movies, the drama rose out of gunplay/knife play, instead of from the interaction between the characters. Nevertheless, In Bloom, which is co-directed by Simon Gross, is well worth viewing and it won AFI Fest’s Special Award for Personal Storytelling.
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The new book co-authored by L.A.-based reviewer Ed Rampell, “The Hawaii Movie and Television Book”, published by Honolulu’s Mutual Publishing, drops Nov. 25.