13 Tzameti, from director Gela Babluani, is a riveting piece of filmmaking that I’ve only needed to see one time, as I remember each and every moment, and honestly, I think my palms might still be a tad sweaty from the experience. Shot in shadowy and smoky black and white by cinematographer Tariel Meliava, the plot concerns a young immigrant worker (Georges Babluani, the director’s younger brother) who lucks his way into a Russian roulette tournament via a series of mysterious notes, but I guess that would depend on your definition of the word “luck.” The tension in this film is nearly unbearable, you never know what’s going to happen, and because the film is comprised of actors you’ve likely never seen, it becomes all the more engrossing and scary; there’s no movie stars here to save the day. Babluani was unfortunately coerced by Hollywood producers to remake his own film, and while I’ve never seen it, the fact that it sat on the shelf for a long period of time probably speaks to the overall quality; he’s also yet to issue a follow up effort which seems a shame. But beyond the needless remake, this is one of the more unnerving foreign language films I can think of, presenting a sinister, suspenseful world with deep swaths of mordant black comedy to match the visceral nature of the high-stakes “games” being played.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.