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621 Ratings



Directed by Tengiz Abuladze
Soviet Union, 1984
Comedy, Drama


Varlam Aravidze is the authoritarian, Stalin-like mayor of a Georgian town. In the days following his funeral, the grave keeps being mysteriously robbed and his corpse appearing in the most unusual places. Eventually, the police arrest a local individual who is believed to be the direct responsible.

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Repentance Directed by Tengiz Abuladze

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1987 | 3 wins including: FIPRESCI Prize

Golden Globes (USA)

1988 | Nominee: Best Foreign Language Film

Chicago International Film Festival

1987 | 2 wins including: Best Actor (Silver Hugo)

Critics reviews

Starting as surrealist farce, Repentance evolves into a courtroom drama, political chronicle, and Oedipal crucible. What the movie occasionally lacks in stylistic refinement, it more than compensates in rhetorical daring and novelistic depth.
September 28, 2018
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In contrast to the dull deliberations that dog Colors at every turn… Repentance is a veritable trip through Disneyland. It is even—dare I say this, when Dennis Hopper is concerned?—a hipper, more psychedelic, and funnier movie than Colors. I won’t deny that it gets difficult and/or dull in a few spots, but there are not very many of them. Above all, Repentance offers its audience an intellectual and emotional adventure, and treats it like an equal in this undertaking.
May 06, 1988
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Repentance

    This epic and bizarre film plays like history as a weird dream but it is a fairly accurate representation of Georgian society: very strange and highly evolved in a way that is different from any other nation on earth. Even the Georgian language has no relatives or ancestors-completely unique among all the languages of the world. And it isn't clear whether Georgia is in Europe or Asia; It's somewhere else instead.

  • Fabian's rating of the film Repentance

    Muy bien lograda, con un personaje que llegas a odiar por lo excelente de su actuación Ampliamente recomendable.

  • Dada Kubin's rating of the film Repentance

    “Repentance” starts like a comedy but grows up to be a great tragedy and a damn amazing film. It depicts life under dictatorial powers, coping with its arbitrariness, search for justice, repentance over generations. At times surreals, sometimes reminiscent of Tarkovski, constantly impressive and filled with outstanding performances. The dictator singing opera to the soon-to-be imprisoned artist was truly disturbing.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Repentance

    Multiple award winner at Cannes '87 after having been banned at home. Abuladze casts an eye on three generations of a family by examining the history of a grandfather recently past and his tyrannical background as a local politician. The filmmaker's weapons are satire, black comedy, political farce and surrealism; and he wields them fiercely. Scripting is fascinating as is the vile lead turn by Avtandil Makharadze.

  • Anna's rating of the film Repentance

    A nation and the pain of repentance. I am very much in awe by the artistic elements, but the philosophy behind it seems a little lacking. Nonetheless, this may have been the balm Georgia needed to soothe its fragile conscious concerning Stalin and his legacy.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Repentance

    Expertly controlled in the mode in which the surrealism of totalitarian regimes turns into nightmarish reality, Abuladze's Christological parable on spirituality's suffering by instrumental rationality (political/technical/legal) digs into the abyss of the aetiology of Evil. With an excellent Makharadze as the Devil incarnate it features some unforgettable set-pieces and constitutes a major indictment on Stalinism.

  • FilmEdie's rating of the film Repentance

    An odd black comedy, a sort of deadpan burlesque, that starts off like an unexplained inside joke and never, over its 2.5 hours, quite ends up making up for it. When context, after 30 minutes, comes, it pools - immiscible - on the too-well-formed set-up, creating layers - of surrealism, politics, scathing humour, sadness; a film in stiff strata. 11 years later, Kusturica would combine the same elements more artfully.

  • Renato Friedmann's rating of the film Repentance

    About guilt and repentance as the legacy of a stalinist leader in a town in Georgia. Long, but never tedious.

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