Archive of films The White Caravan / Tetri karavani

1963, 93 min

Section: Out of the Past
Year: 2019

For generations, shepherds from villages high up in the mountains have been travelling with their vast sheep herds, moving them to distant pastures where they spend the long winter. Each of the villagers has a story to tell, intimated through flawless concision, while the film’s effortlessly fluid epic narrative is interwoven with lyrical passages, together creating a timeless cinematic poem about the primary values in life.


The shepherds only inhabit their mountain villages in the summer; after that they travel with their sheep for more than a month, herding them to pastures near the shores of the Caspian Sea. They have been doing this for generations and, during the journey and at their winter destination, they experience situations embodying all the fundamental aspects of human life. The vast herd is scattered over the wild landscape, fathers and sons live in accord with the natural order, and the black-and-white camera emotively renders monumental images and captures the rhythm of a time-honoured existence that might one day come to an end. This is implied in the character of the young herdsman Gela, whose rebellion against tradition leads to tragedy in this authentic and also timeless, poetic reflection.

Zdena Škapová

About the director

Eldar Shengelaia (b.1933, Tbilisi, Georgia). Selected filmography: The White Caravan (1963), An Unusual Exhibition (1968), Stepmother Samanishvili (1977), Blue Mountains (1983)

Tamaz Meliava (1929-1972, Tbilisi, Georgia). Filmography: By the Quiet Jetty (1958, co-dir. Eduard Abalov), A Simple Thing (1958), The White Caravan (1963), Londre (1966)


Georgian National Film Center
4, Z. Gamsakhurdia Sanapiro Str., 0105, Tbilisi
Tel: +995 322 999 200
Fax: +995 322 999 200
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, DCP

Section: Out of the Past
Director: Eldar Shengelaya, Tamaz Meliava
Screenplay: Merab Eliozishvili 
Dir. of Photography: Giorgi Kalatozishvili, Leonid Kalashnikov
Music: Irakli Gejadze 
Editor: Neli Saradova
Art Director: Dimitri Takaishvili, Qristesia Lebanidze
Production: Qartuli Filmi
Cast: Imedo Kakhiani, Ariadna Shengelaia, Spartak Bagashvili, Merab Eliozishvili, Dodo Abashidze, Konstantine Toloraia, Giorgi Kikadze
Sales: Georgian National Film Center

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