Since Otar Left (Depuis qu'Otar est Parti...) (2003)

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Released 26-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Tom White, Facing Windows, Remember Me
Trailer-My Life Without Me
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 98:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Julie Bertucelli

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Esther Gorintin
Nino Khomasuridze
Dinara Drukarova
Temur Kalandadze
Rusudan Bolqvadze
Sasha Sarishvili
Duta Skhirtladze
Abdellah Moundy
Mzia Eristavi
Micha Eristavi
Zoura Natrochvili
Alexandre Makhorablichvili
Micha Moudjiri
Case ?
RPI ? Music Antoine Duhamel
Antoine Duhamel
Dato Evgenidze

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

   The plot synopsis for Since Otar Left could easily read as a comedy. And although the film does have some nice subtle elements of comedy, it is very much a dramatic film. This film represents an outstanding debut as a feature film director by Julie Bertucelli, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Bernard Renucci.

   Since Otar Left is set in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, in the city of Tbilisi. Conditions in the city aren't ideal. The phone service is terrible and the power and water supply is constantly failing.

   In a cramped apartment, three generations of women live together. Eka (Esther Gorintin) is the demanding but gentle matriarch, who is totally devoted to her only son, Otar. Her daughter, Marina (Nino Khomasuridze) has suffered many hardships in life, including the death of her husband in the war with Afghanistan. And Marina's daughter, Ada (Dinara Drukarova) who is in her late teens, or early twenties, but has maturity well in excess of her years.

   Otar lives and works in Paris, albeit not entirely legally. He works on a construction site and regularly phones, writes and sends money to his devoted mother. Eka waits with great anticipation each day for either a letter or a phone call from Otar telling tales of his new life.

   Late one night, Marina receives a phone call from Paris with news of Otar's accidental death on the construction site. While she always treated her brother as a rival for her mother's affection, she is devastated by the news. Marina decides that the news would be too much for Eka to take and would almost certainly kill her.

   With the reluctant help of Ada and Marina's friend and work colleague, Tengiz (Temur Kalandadze), they embark on a programme of deception. They fake letters from Otar, inventing reasons why he cannot phone or send money. Although a little surprised by the sudden turnaround in her son's letters, Eka seems to believe all is well with her son.

   Eka unexpectedly sells her prize collection of French books to fund an impromptu trip for all three to visit Otar. This is when the women will finally confront not only the reality of the past, but also find hope and optimism for the future.

   Since Otar Left was the deserving winner of the Critics Week Grand Prize at Cannes in 2003. It is a powerful and moving film that delivers a wonderful sense of hope and courage out of the despair of tragedy.

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Transfer Quality


   The video transfer is of very good quality.

   The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The film's correct aspect ratio is 1.85:1.

   The transfer is reasonably sharp and clear, although some scenes appeared to be a little soft. Blacks were excellent and showed no signs of low level noise. Shadows also displayed excellent detail.

   The colours used in the film are very restrained in their intensity. The production design is generally drab, but this suits the setting and mood of the film extremely well. Having said that, the colours do appear to be very natural, as do skin tones.

   I found no evidence of MPEG artefacts. There was some minor edge enhancement at times, but this was not really much of an issue. I found no substantial problems with aliasing. Film artefacts were very rare and were also not an issue.

   The only subtitles available are in English. They are white in colour, and are very easy to read.

   This DVD is a single sided, single layered disc, so there is no layer change to negotiate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


   The audio transfer is perfectly adequate for this type of film.

   There is only one audio track available on this DVD, that being French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

   Dialogue certainly appeared to be clear throughout. Audio sync also appeared to be spot on, although my understanding of the French language is not of a high standard. There was a very brief audio drop-out at 78:20, however this wasn't a major distraction.

   The musical score for Since Otar Left is not original music. The music is credited to Antoine Duhamel, Dato Evgenidze and Arvo Part. The music used is quite haunting and suitably moody.

    The surrounds and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras presented on this disc are unfortunately quite basic.


   The menu is themed around the film and is 16x9 enhanced. It features some very brief initial animation, then remains  static. There is music from the film used as an underscore, but this loops once and then stops. The menu options include Play Movie, Special Features and Scene Selection (17 Chapters). Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Theatrical Trailer (1:50)  

   The theatrical trailer for Since Otar Left, presented in a letterboxed format and in good condition.


   Basic, static screen and silent biographies on the three main actresses in Since Otar Left. Esther Gorintin (Eka) - 2 pages, Dinara Droukarova (Ada) - 4 pages and Nino Khomassouridze (Marina) - 2 pages.

Photo Gallery

   Eight still images from the film, all presented in fullscreen with no audio.

More from Palace Films:   

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a much more substantial R1 version available of Since Otar Left, which has many features not on the Region 4 version. Both versions have French Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

   The Region 4 version misses out on:

   The Region 1 version misses out on:

   It's fair to say that the R1 version seems to be the clear winner for overall presentation.


   Since Otar Left is a beautiful film of a family's love and the hope that emerges from their tragedy.

   The performances, from the three women in particular, are absolutely first class. This fact alone makes the film worth viewing.

   The video and audio transfers are perfectly adequate.

   The lack of extras of significant quality is a disappointment.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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