Keep SmilingOriginal Title: Keep Smiling Anu Gagigimet
Director: Rusudan Chkonia
Georgia, France, Luxembourg | Georgian
Subtitles: Arabic and English
A memorable tragicomedy set in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Rusudan Chkonia’s Keep Smiling
is the story of 10 women and their fierce rivalry to win a beauty contest for mothers who have borne several children. Competing in five categories, including Best Cook and Super Mother, the prize they’re desperate to win is an apartment and $25,000.
The contestants, charming and ambitious, start out with high hopes and great expectations. Their dreams, however, are soon shattered when they realise that the whole thing is a charade.
The participants become pawns for the media and contest organizers who shamelessly
exploit their underprivileged circumstances for entertainment value. In this ludicrous microcosmos the women not only have to deal with each other, their families and the society they live in, but they also must confront themselves in order to preserve their self-respect and dignity.
The seeds of the film were planted when the director met a woman with seven kids who had participated in a similar beauty contest. “It was a tragic, painful story, yet at times so absurd that I could hardly refrain from laughing,' Chkonia says, describing the feeling she has attempted to recreate in her feature debut. She has succeedeed at relating a heartfelt story filled with great humour and humanism while offering a multi-faceted look at contemporary Georgia.
– Özge Calafato