Corn Island

corn island

The Inguri River is situated in Western Georgia. Since the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, both Georgia and Abkhazia keep troops on the river.  Russia also keeps peacekeeping troops. One of the spring floods has created a little island in the middle of the river, as if made for the cultivation of corn.

“Corn Island” opens with the farmer (Ilyas Salman) examining a tiny island in the middle of the water. He builds a small hut there and brings his granddaughter (Mariam Buturishvili) out to help him plant corn.  From time to time, small boats carrying soldiers cruise by.  Some speak Georgian, some speak Abkhaz.   Another batch of soldiers speak Russian. Occasionally there are gunshots.  Writer/director George Ovashvili shows how two people on opposite ends of life eek out an existence.  After years of searching for an island that might work , Ovashvili decided to build one from scratch-actually two, one for overhead shots and another within an artificial lake, where he had total freedom to operate the camera.  Through a farmer and his granddaughter’s journey, Corn Island manages to explore the ways in which war, in a generic sense, wages battle on land, bodies and time.

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