City of the Sun

Guests Expected

Director Rati Oneil is expected to attend the April 5 and 6 screenings.


The lives, dreams, and desires of three stalwart denizens of a desolate Georgian mining town provide the framework for this observational and gorgeously rendered film. With precise attention to landscape and architecture, director Rati Oneli focuses on Archil, a miner with an operatic flair for theater, the workouts of twin sprinters, and Zurab, an impassioned man working to keep Georgian music and culture alive.

“Georgian director Rati Oneli’s City of the Sun is in a constant dialogue with philosophical treatise and epic poetry, but the humanity shines through in his meditative exploration of a half-abandoned mining town. On one level, all of the moments the film presents, whether they be intimate, humorous, or stoically observational, show how there is still lifeblood in this otherwise dormant behemoth. The people of Chiatura help maintain its warmth, despite the chill that seems to blow throughout.” – Ben Nicholson, CineVue

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Director Rati Oneli

A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, Rati Oneli previously made the shorts Theo (2011) and Leitmotif (2012). City of the Sun, winner of the Georgian Panorama Best Film at the Tbilisi International Film Festival, among other awards, is Oneli’s first feature. Of his decision to make a film about Chiatura, he says, “I knew that I had to do something, but I also understood that it was such an immense challenge, with such immense responsibilities to the people who live there. At that time I didn’t think that I had the moral right to do anything without completely understanding the city and what the people were going through. It would have been very easy to take a very observational standpoint and just say 'this is what I see' in the way of ruin porn. So that’s why I stayed alone in the city for about six months and I tried to immerse myself in life there, to get to know people and breathe the same air, so to speak.”

Film Details
  • Country(ies): Georgia/USA/Qatar/Netherlands
  • Language(s): Georgian
  • Year: 2017
  • Running time: 100
  • Director(s): Rati Oneli
  • Producer(s): Dea Kulumbegashvili, Rati Oneli, Jim Stark
  • Cinematographer(s): Arseni Khachaturan
  • Editor(s): Ramiro Su├írez

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