The following piece was submitted by Alexandre Koberidze as part of our current focus on the Berlin Critics’ Week. We invited him to revisit his encounter with the event in the past since he was a director the Berlin Critics’ Week supported from an early moment in his career. His first feature Let the Summer Never Come Again was part of the Berlin Critics’ Week selection in 2017.
Somehow the coronavirus has altered my memory, hopefully not permanently, but it seems so in this moment. I feel like I have forgotten many things. Actually everything is there and just needs a little push to come back to me again, but this little push doesn’t always occur. Even now, while I try to think back to February 2017, there isn’t much I can remember. I do know that I frequently took pictures, photography was a habit I developed while shooting my first film. I took an endless amount of pictures and this habit helped me to see more clearly than before. Shooting my film Let the Summer Never Come Again was a part of the same learning process and February 2017 was the exact moment when it was shown for the first time. I remember well that this happened at the Berlin Critics’ Week, there are some details which I can still recall. But not many. To get closer to that time I open a folder with images: Foto/Telefon/2017/Februar. There are 969 images in that folder. Seemingly I spent the first half of the month in Tiflis, which I also can’t remember. Neither that I took many pictures there, of all kinds of things — trees, streets, kids, dogs, branches, friends, many unknown people, houses, the river, and many lost gloves. Then I travelled to Berlin and continued. I see many more lost gloves, apples, hands, and it seems there were some sunny days in February 2017. It snowed, too, which actually I would like to experience again soon. Then there is an image of a tree which was cut down later on. I know how much I liked that tree and how at some point, maybe last year, when I returned to Berlin after a long break, I noticed that it was missing. The trunk remained, but the rest was gone. It made me sad. The tree used to be very close to my flat and every time I saw it, its beauty made me joyful and frisky, too. It grew on a very nice place. Some like to call such a place a non-place, because it doesn’t have a specific function, although it is clear that it doesn’t have to have a function. This was a gorgeous corner. In February 2023 I saw the same corner again, the trunk is there and somehow this is good. I took a picture of the spot, not to photograph the emptiness, but because another tree I hadn’t noticed before also stood there, a beautiful tree which leads a strange life between two walls, pretty slim and high, maybe just because of the walls, still the empty spot on that corner is pretty remarkable. I prefer opening the folder Foto/Telefon/2017/Februar and observe the image with the tree and the sun and the shadow which both have created together. The tree had almost disappeared from my memory, but the images are there and now I can remember it quite vividly again, it lives on in my memory, in the photographs, also the trunk remains and I wish for you to see the image with the tree as well, so the memory lives on even longer:
All photographs from the personal archives of Alexandre Koberidze.
Alexandre Koberidze was born 1984 in Tiflis, Georgia. From 2001 till 2005 he studied film production at the film and theatre academy in Tiflis. 2009 he moved to Berlin, where he started studying directing at the German film and TV academy Berlin (DFFB).While his studies he directed several short films, such as Looking Back is Grace (2014) which was produced in collaboration with Arte or Colophon (2015) which had its premiere at the International short film festival Oberhausen and where it got a special mention by the jury. His first feature film Let the Summer Never Comme Again (2017) which is a fiction with documentary elements, premiered at the Berlin Critics' Week which is happening parallel to the Berlinale. It was also shown at FidMarseille 2017 and won the Grand prix de la compétition internationale. Then he directed What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (2021), winner of the FIPRESCI prize at the Berlinale.
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