Tangerines / Mandariinid

Published: May 10, 2017

Tangerines (Mandariinid) is a 2013 Estonian–Georgian drama film. It’s in Russian and Estonian, despite the fact that it takes place in and was filmed in Georgia.

The film is about a village in Abkhazia (considered a part of Georgia or an independent republic, depending on who you ask), whose residents are mostly ethnic Estonians. The year is 1992, and war has just broken out between the Georgian government and Abkhazian separatists aided by Russian forces. Most of the Estonians in the village have fled, but a few remain, and the film tells their stories: Margus and Ivo are elderly tangerine farmers who get entangled in a conflict between ethnic Georgian and Chechen soldiers who are fighting on opposite sides of the war.

Estonia submitted Tangerines to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, and it was in fact nominated, but it lost out to the Polish film IdaTangerines did win a whole host of other prizes, though, including several Best Picture nods at various European and international film festivals and awards to Zaza Urushadze (ზაზა ურუშაძე) for screenplay and direction. The film has gotten very good reviews from critics and audiences worldwide.

Zaza Urushadze is a Georgian director and screenwriter whose films have won high critical praise; Tangerines is his best-known. The film’s star, Lembit Ulfsak, who died in 2017, was a pretty well-known Estonian actor. Among other (perhaps more prestigious) achievements, he was in the Estonian dubbed version of both Ice Age movies. Another star of the film, Elmo Nüganen, is an Estonian actor and director who directed the well-known Estonian war movie 1944.


Director: Zaza Urushadze (ზაზა ურუშაძე)
Stars: Lembit Ulfsak, Giorgi Nakashidze (გიორგი ნაკაშიძე), Elmo Nüganen, Mikheil Meskhi (მიხეილ მესხი), Raivo Trass
Production companies: Allfilm, Cinema24


The trailer:




About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk and before that, Bishkek, with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

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