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City of the Sun (Mzis Qalaqi)

New Voices in Cinema

Rati Oneli / Feature Documentary / Georgia, United States of America, Netherlands, Qatar / 2017 / 103 min / Colour / DCP
Rated: Parental guidance is advised for viewers under the age of 13. Individuals under the age of 13 are not admitted into cinemas unless accompanied by an individual aged 18 or older.

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Imagined as a city of the future during the Soviet era, the once-celebrated manganese-mining town of Chiatura in Georgia is now all but abandoned, crumbling around those who still inhabit it. The film’s title is perhaps ironic – this is no Disneyland, the famed network of cable cars notwithstanding. And yet, as anywhere, people live their lives and go about their daily business. There is joy here, and there are the usual challenges.

Zurab is a music teacher by day; he spends his spare time dismantling – with his hands and a sledgehammer, mind you – disused and decaying concrete silos, in order to sell the rebar as scrap metal. Archil works in the still-operational mines, but he has fallen in love with the theatre and wonders whether he would be better off quitting his job to spend more time acting. And two young sisters, living in malnourished poverty, train for the Olympics, their daily runs cheered on by supportive fellow citizens.

Rati Oneli’s ‘City of the Sun’ takes us on a languourous tour of this place of faded glory, building a portrait of a city and its people that is comfortably familiar at the same time that it verges on otherwordly.

About the Director

Rati Oneli was born in Tbilisi. He lived in New York City from 1999 to 2014, when he moved to Georgia in order make his documentary ‘City of the Sun’. He specialised in Middle East Studies and International Affairs at the Free University of Tbilisi and at Columbia University in New York. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Philosophy at the European Graduate School. In 2014, he produced and co-edited Dea Kulumbegashvili’s ‘Invisible Spaces’, a short film that premiered at the Festival de Cannes. In 2016, Rati Oneli produced Dea Kulumbegashvili’s second short film, ‘Lethe’, which had its premiere in the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes.


Rati Oneli
Rati Oneli, Dea Kulumbegashvili
Rati Oneli, Dea Kulumbegashvili
Ramiro Suarez
Jim Stark
Arseni Khachaturan
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