Film director Otar Iosseliani dies aged 89

Otar Iosseliani pictured in 2015

By Robert Greenall

BBC News

Georgian film director Otar Iosseliani, known for films such as Pastorale and Favourites of the Moon, has died at the age of 89.

His death was announced by his friend, the photographer Yuri Rost.

Born in the Soviet Union, Iosseliani spent most of his career in France, where he gained a wider audience making films which were more overtly critical of the country he had left.

He focused on everyday life, but with a detached and sometimes sarcastic style.

“We are grieving. Otar Iosseliani, the great film director, an amazing person and my very close friend, has gone,” Rost wrote in his Telegram channel.

Georgia’s Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili said he was deeply saddened by the news of Iosseliani’s death, describing him as an “honoured figure” of Georgian art.

Born in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, Iosseliani made his first full-length film Falling Leaves in 1966. It received two awards at the Cannes film festival.

He moved to France in 1982 after the success of his film Pastorale at the Berlin film festival. He had despaired of achieving success in his home country, which gave the film only a limited release.

Favourites of the Moon, made in 1984, won the Special Jury prize at Venice, and since then the festival has become a showcase for his films.

In 2011 he was given a lifetime achievement award at the Munich International Film Festival.

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