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13 Tzameti

4.3 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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(Feb 13, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Twenty-two-year-old Sebastien (Georges Babluani) leads an impoverished life with his immigrant family constantly struggling to support them. While repairing the roof of a neighbor

Special Features

  • Interview with Director Gela Babluani and Actors Georges Babluani and Aurélien Recoing
  • The DVD Design Contest – Top 13 finalists
  • Sunday’s Game - A short film about some nice old ladies
  • Testimony of a Survivor
  • Deleted scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: George Babluani, Aurélien Recoing, Pascal Bongard, Fred Ulysse, Nicolas Pignon
  • Directors: Géla Babluani
  • Writers: Géla Babluani
  • Producers: Géla Babluani, Alexandre Meliava, Bruno Daniault, Fanny Saadi, Jean-Baptiste Legrand
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: February 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item can be shipped to over 75 destinations outside of the U.S. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000KF0DJS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,836 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "13 Tzameti" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Sohi on January 14, 2007
Format: DVD
First time director, Gela Babluani's film, shot in stark black and white, has deservedly won several prestigious awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. "13 Tzameti" is a very tightly constructed film where nothing is wasted yet everything feels completely real and natural. The cast is uniformly excellent and the cinematography helps to focus the viewer on the hard little world the film creates. Watching it is an overwhelmingly tense experience and it's difficult to imagine anyone not being completely engrossed.

If you're looking at this page, it's probably going to be hard not to discover some of the key elements of this film's plot. Too bad. I think the experience of watching it would be enhanced if you were able to see it with the same lack of knowledge the main character has about the situation he plunges into. I'd recommend you stop reading now, get the film and watch it before reading anything else. A word of caution though: the violence in the film is particularly disturbing because of its context.

If you want to know more, here are some details without giving away too much. The story involves a 22 year old manual labourer (superbly played by an actor who I'm guessing is related to the director since they share the same surname) who is struggling to help his family make ends meet when he finds an envelope containing a train ticket along with some information that's possibly connected to a large sum of money. The envelope belonged to the man whose house he was repairing and who died before paying our protaganist for his work. The young man decides to pretend he's the dead man and unwittingly descends into a nightmarish world - a world which shows the absurdity of the human condition as well as serving as a metaphor for how the poor and desperate can be dehumanized by the rich and powerful.

This is a great film and I strongly recommend it.
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Format: DVD
13 Tzameti is an outstanding, emotionally visceral film from first-time director Gela Babluani, a gripping, mesmerizing tour de force of cinematic expression that collars you in an ever-tightening noose of nervous tension and quickly engulfs you completely in its dark atmosphere. It's so rare for a film to come along and actually succeed at putting you on edge - 13 Tzameti, though, truly delivers the goods. It's not hard to see why the film garnered the award for Best First Feature at the Venice Film Festival and walked away with the World Cinema Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

I'm not going to go into detail in terms of the plot, as the film is much more effective if you the viewer descend alongside the main character into the depths of civilized depravity. It starts innocently enough, with young Sebastien (George Babluani) doing some repair work on a certain gentleman's roof. While he is working, he overhears this man talking about a letter he is expecting, a letter detailing an opportunity to make a great deal of money. Fate would seemingly have it that this letter would fall into the hands of Sebastien, and he makes the decision to pursue its mysterious promise himself, despite the fact he has no clue what it relates to. (As an immigrant, struggling to take care of his family, he decides to take the risk.) All he finds in the envelope is a train ticket and a hotel ticket, but these start him on a journey filled with cryptic clues, clandestine movements, and deepening mystery. At the end of that journey, when he finally realizes just what he has gotten himself in to, he has no choice but to play everything out.
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Format: DVD
"Tzameti" means "13" in the language of Georgia, European country where Géla Babluani, director of this fascinating film, is born. In "13 Tzameti" you see Sébastien, 22-year-old Georgian immigrant living somewhere in France (played by George Babluani, director's brother) struggling for his and his family's livelihood. One day Sébastien accidentally obtains a recciept of hotel reservation and a one-way ticket to Paris, and he decides to use it, knowing that it belongs to someone else, who was talking about big money. What Sébastien did not know is that its real destination is a remote mansion where the world's strangest and deadliest `game' is going to be held.

After reading the film's curious story, some might remember Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's "Intacto," but actually "Tzameti", shot in black and white and with the minimum amount of dialogues, reminded me of the classic European films like Roman Polanski and Louis Malle. "Tzameti" slowly builds up the tension with carefully shot scenes and taut editing, and its pure tension reaches the highest when it finally introduces the `game' that is done with ritualistic accuracy. The cold, matter-of-factness of the game makes a great contrast with the haggard faces of Sébastien.

Some may think "Tzameti" needs a different ending. I am not sure if the present one is the best way to conclude the story which is far from predictable. Perhaps we will know the answer when a Hollywood remake is made (yes, they do ... again). At the time of writing, Géla Babluani is scheduled to direct it himself in 2008.

"Tzameti" defines easy categorization, but I can say its attractive photography of the bleak world and the undiluted intensity without showing blood is something you rarely see. It is truly a refreshing experience.
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