It’s the early 90s in Tbilisi, capital of the newly independent Georgia. The Soviet Union having collapsed, the country is facing chaos: a war on the Black Sea coast, violence and vigilante justice plaguing the streets of the city. Screenwriter and co-director (with Simon Gross) Nana Ekvtimishvili draws on her personal memories of growing up at this difficult time to fashion this superb debut feature about two 14-year-old girls caught up in the turmoil.
Eka and Natia (Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria, respectively, both excellent) are inseparable friends living with their families in crumbling high-rise apartments. Though their world appears to be coming apart at the seams, the two of them are interested in the same things most 14-year-olds are: classroom gossip, the neighbourhood boys and their growing awareness of their own sexuality and power. Things change when Natia is forced into marrying against her will…
"An impressive coming-of-age feature about female friendship, fatal feuds and family friction in post-Soviet Georgia…[that] has the texture of authentic experience… Built around radiant performances from its two young leads, In Bloom is… subtly interwoven with thriller elements and a gently pro-feminist message about young girls defying ancient patriarchal traditions… The languid camera work of veteran Romanian New Wave cinematographer Oleg Mutu also merits a mention, painting Tbilisi in chilly blues and warm browns, like vintage tinted postcards…"—Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter