While the film also doesn’t remake the wheel for these kinds of narratives, the vision is so otherworldly and Mohylová’s physically attuned performance so immersive, that “Restore Point,” an imaginative, propulsive thrill ride, offers well–paced entertainment attached to a subject we all fear.
The near-death experience that rocks Etero (Eka Chavleishvili) at the start of “Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry,” doesn’t inspire a seismic change within this distant woman. Rather it heightens the sensuality, desire, and psychological wounds that have always dominated her tenuous relationship to people, and even her own quaint home.
See, Etero lives a solitary life: Her main hobby involves hiking to the river where she can pick delicious blackberries, whose aromatic and savory elements arouse her. Here she nearly encounters sure-death when the ground beneath her feet gives way to the rocky face of the cliff it occupies; Etero claws back from edge and stumbles back to the tidy hole-in-the-wall beauty shop she owns. There she finds Murman (Temiko Chichinadze) bringing fresh stock for the store. Etero is 48-years old, Murman is about the same age. And yet, age has not dulled their shared desires: The lens often takes on Etero’s point of view as she overtly examines Murman’s forearms, his chest, and crisp stubble. The pair make passionate love in the stockroom, becoming an item in spite of Murman being married.
If you think director Elene Naveriani’s “Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry” becomes a narrative about Etero being a wallflower who finds real happiness in bliss, you’d be wrong. Naveriani’s vision has more in common with “An Unmarried Woman,” in the sense that companionship for Etero offers a chance for self-exploration—an opportunity snatched away from her early in life by her deceased brother and father—rather than being an end goal. She lives everyday with an unshakable ethos for what constitutes a good life, one that’s primarily tethered to nature. Etero remains true to herself, even as the local women deride her for being alone and childless; she reaffirms her personal choice for solitude with acidic venom when a lecherous elderly man hits on her as she enjoys her pastry.