Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Poetry, vivid imagery and allegory mark the nearly two-dozen episodes of this epic tale about human life and its troubles, set in the Georgian village of Kachetien near the turn of the century. One continuing thread concerns a young woman, in love with one man, who is married off to another by the village elders. When she is caught meeting her true love, she is paraded through the village for public abuse and ridicule, during which globs of mud are hurled at her. Many vividly drawn and eccentric village characters are portrayed, from simpletons to fortune-tellers, and their dreams reveal what each would consider to be happiness in this life. The well-regarded director of this film, Tengiz Abuladze, was known for his visually sophisticated and symbolically rich works. The Wishing Tree is the second film in a Georgian trilogy by Abuladze: the first, released in 1969, was Encounter, about the primitivist artist Nikos Piosmani the last, released in 1987, is known as Repentance. The Wishing Tree, based on a tale told in blank verse by Georgi Leonidze, won many prizes: the All-Union Grand Prize, the Prize of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the State Prize of Georgian Republic, and the David Donatello Prize from Italy, as "Best Foreign Picture."