Pirosmani | Chicago Reader

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Noted Georgian folk artist Pirosmani, born in 1862 and homeless for much of his life, devoted himself to painting full-time after several other careers; his work was first exhibited publicly only five years before his death in 1918. In this 1971 Soviet biopic we see him setting up a grocery in an arid landscape, then closing it after giving away his merchandise to the poor. He turns down a job offer from a cafe owner—“I can't chain myself,” he says—and is eventually discovered painting an outdoor sign by two artists who, impressed by his striking animal pictures, have been looking for him. Giorgi Shengelaya directs with a sensitivity well suited to his subject's gentle spirit, and the film's dreamy colors evoke Pirosmani's paintings. 85 min.

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