- What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? is a 150-minute Georgian fairy tale from director (and writer, and editor) Aleksandre Koberidze.
There is a chance meeting on a street- Giorgi and Lisa fall in love but a spell is cast upon them- and they separate. Koberidze opens with a camera zoom in on a spot on the ground. The zoom in is the first shot after the credits and you see the legs (and then voice) of Lisa and Giorgi. This is a variation on Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.
- The omniscient narration is from Koberidze himself- “we’ll find out later why not” and “let’s return to the narrative” after a statistic about how few animals actually kill people.
- Another playful zoom across the river- the style fits with the story as the score (from the director’s brother Giorgi Koberidze) switches instruments to a harp. The lighthearted iris transition fits the fairy tale story as well- and certainly connects the film to Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie (2001).
The scene with the curse is fascinating- the narrator tells the audience to close their eyes and then rings the morning bell and two different actors emerge for the roles. This is a sort of riff on Bunuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire (1977).
- The film has plenty of fat on it- there are just too many scenes that do not progress the fairy tale- and these scenes are not stylistic or formal indulgences either. Koberidze is very imaginative- but seems easily distracted (like the title).
- Giorgi loves football and Lisa medicine- but they must get new trades.
- There is an admirable amount of formal playfulness- but it is untidy. There is a slow-motion football scene with the children that has a dramatic pop score all of a sudden to end part I. Koberidze as the narrator talking often about what the dogs are up to (totally outside of the main narrative) is part of the formal skeleton. Some of the pillow shot cutaways sort of play like a city symphony.
- The two characters meet at the 98-minute mark again by chance. Koberidze captures it in a long shot at night with the yellow lighting between the trees.
- Koberidze loves the long shot in the park where the two characters (after the curse) work with the four trees.
- A great final shot of the boys climbing the stairs with the stature
- Recommend but not in the top ten of 2021