Merab Kokochashvili

Member of the Board of Directors

Classic Georgian filmmaker Merab Kokochashvili, born in 1935, has directed 21 feature films
and documentaries. And even at the age of 85, he is working on a new movie that seems to
encapsulate his entire career.
In 1997, the Pesaro Film Festival hailed The Great Green Valley, a cinematic masterpiece by
Merab Kokochashvili, as one of the 100 most innovative films of the 20 th century.
The filmmaker has garnered myriad international and local awards. But his most cherished
prize is the test of time—he is truly happy that, even 50 years on, his movies are as relevant
as ever. In 2017, Berlin’s Arsenal – institut für kino und veideokunst restored The Great
Green Valley from the film preserved at the Georgian Film Studio. The reborn movie
premiered in the Arsenal Cinema, Berlin.
In 1976, seven Georgian films made it through the locked down borders of the Soviet Union
to be positioned as Georgian—not Soviet—products, a major achievement largely credited to
Erika and Ulrich Gregor who had fought tooth and nail to have Georgian films recognized as
such, not as Soviet pieces, and to facilitate Days of Georgian Cinema in Europe. The
screenings were once again held in Arsenal, and The Great Green Valley opened the
Georgian screening sessions, with Novel Prize Laureate Günter Grass delivering a welcome
speech.
It is thanks to Merab Kokochashvili and his generation of filmmakers that the term Georgian
cinematic phenomenon was coined to refer to Georgian cinema.