Otar Iosseliani was born in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, where he studied at the State Conservatory and graduated in 1952 with a diploma in composition, conducting and piano. In 1953 he went to Moscow to study at the faculty of mathematics, but in two years he quit and entered the State Film Institute (VGIK) where his teachers were Alexander Dovzhenko and Mikhail Chiaureli. While still a student, he began working at the Gruziafilm studios in Tbilisi, first as an assistant director and then as an editor of documentaries. In 1958 he directed his first short film Akvarel. In 1961 he graduated from VGIK with a diploma in film direction. When his medium-length film Aprili (1961) was denied theatrical distribution, Iosseliani abandoned filmmaking and in 1963-1965 worked first as a sailor on a fishing boat and then at the Rustavi metallurgical factory. Aprili was finally released only in 1972. In 1966 he directed his first feature film Giorgobistve that was presented at the Critics' Week at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival and won a FIPRESCI award there. When his 1976 film Pastorali was shelved for a few years and then granted only a limited distribution, Iosseliani grew sceptical about getting any artistic freedom in his homeland. Following Pastorali's success at the 1982 Berlin Film Festival, the director moved to France where in 1984 he made Les Favoris de la Lune. The film was distinguished with a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Since then Venice became a showcase for all his subsequent films. In 1989 he again received a Special Jury Prize for Et la Lumiere Fut and in 1992 the Pasinetti Award for Best Direction for La Chasse aux Papillons. After the disruption of the Soviet Union he continued to work in France where he made the documentary Seule Georgie (1994) which was followed by the sardonic and allegorical Brigands - Chapitre VII (1996).