As civil war rages in the newly independent state of Georgia in 1992, war also rages among the civilians. Dysfunctional families, battered by old fashioned notions of seemingly forced marriages and repressive male supremacy, force women to the margins. In Bloom is a story told in these margins as two young girls find their voices, learning how to make themselves heard amidst a society undergoing fundamental and volatile change. The girls are not so much blooming as they are fighting their very own battles.
In Bloom is a transfixing exploration of two families and the branches of society which can be analysed from within. Natia’s (Mariam Bokeria) family is dysfunctional, a drunken father fights with her mother and her younger brother embodies the male dominance that informs so much of the Georgian society. Her best friend Eka’s (Lika Babluani) family is not as explosive but there are still key societal elements to be found there. Her father is in prison, this is never explained but from the makeup of the family it is inferred that he is a freedom fighter. Eka’s sister embodies the desire for equality, a modern women but she shows little respect for anyone or anything.
The two girls are inseparable, their friendship and will to help each other symbolises the change that is occurring in this newly independent state. Directors Simon Gross and Nana Ekvtimishvili capture this in a starkly real but poetic way. The girls must always stick together, even when Natia succumbs to a forced marriage, Eka cannot let the disappointment hinder the progress the two have made and shows her compassion in a stunningly shot dance sequence at Natia’s wedding.
A wonderful script exemplifies defiance which can vanish with a whimper before being reborn. What is a relatively simple story is littered with figurative meaning. When the girls end up in possession of a pistol, it reminds that the danger in this place is very real and that women need to protect themselves. To fully bloom, the girls, and Georgia, must find a balance of conformity and evolution to reach their goals, Gross and Ekvtimishvili’s film find the everyday moments in which tiny revolutions begin to give way to freedom.
In Bloom is released on DVD from 14th July courtesy of Artificial Eye