Synopsis by Mark Deming
An artist finds that creative freedom is far more elusive than he imagined in this satirical comedy-drama from writer and director Otar Iosseliani. Niko (Dato Tarielashvili) is a talented but hard-headed Georgian filmmaker working in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. Niko is determined to make his own films his own way, but as he butts heads with official censors and state-appointed producers, that isn't a simple matter. Working at home is all but impossible as he's constantly interrupted by his grandparents, and while his colleagues on the set and in the editing room are loyal, they often have to step in to help fight his battles over the content of his work. Fed up with the Soviet way of filmmaking, Niko leaves Georgia and immigrates to France, where a producer (Pierre Etaix) offers him a chance to use his talents in Europe. It isn't long before Niko realizes he's simply traded one sort of creative interference for another. Inspired in part by Iosseliani's own experiences, Chantrapas (the name comes from a Russian phrase for a stubborn ne'er-do-well) was an official selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.