Beyond the Smoke
December 15, 2022
Beyond the smoke
Beyond the smoke
by Clément Carat
Iliade et Films and Les Alchimistes | France
Documentary | 1st feature
Three lives, three destinies, and three generations of Georgians chained to one discipline: Drifting. Mevlud, Giorgi, and Megi drift along death to steer their lives toward their dreams in a country emerging from the obscurity of the postsoviet years.
A car skids at over 60 mph; leaving billows of smoke in its wake. Behind this cloud emerge three Georgians, Mevlud, Giorgi, and Megi, spanning three generations, driving three tinkered BMWs turned into race cars.
Mevlud, 50 years old, 1m50, tries to challenge the leadership of the world’s best drifters. His only ally in his quest is his resourceful mindset acquired during the “dark nineties.” But to play with speed means to play with death. A price that he has paid with his own flesh, as well as his former disciple, Giorgi.
Giorgi, a popular baby-faced legend, whose relatives tell us that he had hoped to change his life, and their own, until a tragic night in June 2013 when he lost his life. He leaves behind a myth, and sorrow in the heart of his followers and his daughter; who he did not get the chance to see growing up.
Finally, following in Giorgi’s footsteps, Megi, a young woman born after the stormy years, seeks a place under the spotlight with nothing but her determination and extremely limited means. But Georgia is not the same country as it once was; black markets for cheap car parts are closing, cops patrol every street corner, and the road anarchy of the old days is coming to an end.
Beyond the smoke caused by their tires spinning, these three lives addicted to the thrill of speed paint a portrait of a mutating Georgian society. The only way to achieve their dreams is to figure it out through complicated strategies that sometimes involve death at the end of the road.
Filmmaker and visual artist, Clément graduated in 2016 from a master’s degree in design and art “System D” from the Sandberg Instituut (Amsterdam, NL). For several years he focuses on participatory sculptures and performances where he includes in his creative process people excluded or not represented in the art world. From 2017 to 2018, he was selected by the Academy of France to become a resident of the Casa de Velazquez in Spain.
Following this residency, he began a journey in the South Caucasus in the footsteps of his forefathers. During this trip, he met a community of drifters in Georgia with whom he established a relationship of trust. Sculpture not being enough to tell the story of these Caucasian “driving fools”, he began writing a documentary with the help of the production companies Iliade & Film and Les Alchimistes : Beyond The Smoke.
ILIADE ET FILMS is a production company based in Paris and founded by Oury Milshtein in 2002. It mostly produces feature films directed both by emerging and established authors.
In 2018, Manon Messiant joined Iliade et Films, to produce films and series – mostly animation and documentaries – by emerging directors.
LES ALCHIMISTES was born in 2020 from the merger of two French production and distribution companies. Now based between Paris, Lille and Marseille, our ambition is to create and release films (at the cinema) that deal with subjects close to the sensitive, to the counterpoint, but also to the ostracized, to the struggle and vital, social and political battles. Particularly interested in international collaborations from the very beginning, we recently launched a new chapter for our company by opening up to projects from emerging countries, authors or cinematographies.