The Coup (film)

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The Coup

Promotional poster for The Coup
Directed by Marianna Bajusz
Produced by
Screenplay by Marianna Bajusz
Starring
Music by Martin Fröst
Cinematography Bidzina Steelberg
Editing by Gulnaz Undiladze
Studio Rustavi Studio
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (Breisland)
Release date(s) August 24, 2015
(Kaspi)
November 5, 2015
(Varkana)
Running time 132 minutes
Country Varkana
Language Varkan
Breislandic
Budget ₭13.7 million
Box office ₭54.8 million

The Coup (Varkan: გადატრიალების) is a 2015 Varkan historical political thriller written and directed by Marianna Bajusz about the events leading to the 1971 Varkan coup d'état. Temuri Jorjashvili portrays Ioseb Jugashvili, a General in the Military of Varkana who successfully plans and executes a coup against the democratically-elected Socialist government led by President Inga Korsantia played by Eva Seferis. Josef Hader plays Hermann Gerstle, a BND officer in Varkana who helped Jugashvili, and Ivane Rokva plays Colonel Andro Tumanishvili, Jugashvili's right hand man.

The Coup was first screened on 24 August 2015 in the Kaspi Film Festival, followed by a worldwide release on 5 November 2015. The Coup received positive reviews from critics, being praised for its cast's acting, direction, score and writing. As of 15 November 2015, The Coup has grossed ₭54.8 million worldwide.

Plot

The story begins with the closing moments of a public speech by President Inga Korsantia (Eva Seferis) in 1968 after her re-election as President with 78% of votes. General Ioseb Jugashvili (Temuri Jorjashvili) watches her speech on television while drinking alcohol, visibly angry. Flash-forward to March 1971. Jugashvili is with several of his loyal subordinate in the Varkan military and gives an impassioned speech describing his wishes to combat leftism. BND officer Hermann Gerstle (Josef Hader) later meets Jugashvili in Klow, and they discuss a government change for a conservative pro-Breislandic Varkana. Jugashvili and his supporters pay various people to sabotage and use scab techniques to agitate leftist rallies and make them look bad to the general population. Jugashvili gets even more support from hard-core conservatives in the military, alienated by Korsantia's military cuts and her internationalist pacifist rhetoric.

On 24 May 1971, Jugashvili leads a group of military officials in Klow, placing tanks in strategic positions, effectively gaining complete control of the capital. At the same time, a large number of small mobile units are dispatched to arrest leading politicians, authority figures, and ordinary citizens suspected of left-wing sympathies, according to lists prepared in advance. General Tsisia Abakelia (Lali Balishvili), Commander of the Land Forces, and Prime Minister Gocha Nizharadze (Eduard Chkhaidze) are arrested at their respective houses. Under the command of Colonel Andro Tumanishvili (Ivane Rokva), the military takes over the Varkan Defense Ministry. In the meantime, Jugashvili gains control of communication centers, the parliament, and arrests over 10,000 people.

Seeing soldiers invading the Presidential Palace and killing any resistance, Korsantia escapes to the roof of the palace, but surrenders after one of the invading soldiers holds a gun to her head. Gerstle advises Jugashvili to "shoot the bitch because she's going to come back to kill you". Korsantia then is dragged by her hair by a soldier and summary executed with a shot in the right side of her head. The film ends after an epilogue explaining the aftermath and subsequent dictatorship of President Jugashvili until 21 March 1976.

Cast

Production

Casting

At the time of commissioning, Temuri Jorjashvili was announced as portraying General Ioseb Jugashvili in January 2015. Jorjashvili gained weight for his role and had to wear a wig. He researched Jugashvili's background by travelling to Chiatura — where Jugashvili was born and grew up — and reviewing numerous biographies and information about the Varkan military during the late 1960's and the 1970's. Aetolian actress Eva Seferis was cast as President Inga Korsantia in January as well. Seferis worked with an accent coach to effectively mimic Korsantia's speech style, and perfecting her Varkan. Breislandic actor Josef Hader studied biographies of Hermann Gerstle to prepare for his role. Hader identified Gerstle as "a ruthless BND agent acting with absolute impunity".

Filming

Principal photography and production began on February 10, 2015, in Klow. Much of the film was shot on outdoor sets, using 1970's cars and motorcycles with a large amount of extras. The scenes that took place in an undisclosed military base were shot in Ozurgeti with the cooperation of the Military of Varkana. Principal photography officially wrapped in early June 2015.

To film the final scene at the Presidential Palace, the Presidential Office's staff and the presidential family had to relocate for three nights. This was the second time the security-sensitive area had ever been closed to accommodate filming, both times for Bajusz's movies. As Bajusz is the wife of incumbent President Giorgi Latso, the filmmakers obtained unparalleled filming access. The Land Forces provided several decommissioned tanks from the 1960's to be used for scenes.

Music

The movie's soundtrack features solely clarinet pieces performed by Martin Frost.

Release and reception

Box office

As of 15 November 2015, The Coup has grossed ₭54.8 million worldwide, of which ₭12.1 million of the takings have been generated from the Varkan market, ₭9.8 from Aetolia and ₭12.9 million from Breisland. It is currently the fourth-highest-grossing Varkan-language film in Breisland.

Critical reception

The Coup received a "Certified Fresh" rating of 98% from the site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 136 reviews with an average score of 9 out of 10. The consensus states "The Coup is an illuminating, thoughtful and detailed account of the 1971 Varkan coup d'état". The film also has a score of 86 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 35 reviews, indicating "Universal Acclaim".