Levan Akin on the Queer Visibility of “And Then We Danced”

And Then We Danced Levan Akin Photo: Carla Orrego Veliz

The director of the queer folk-dance drama talks about homophobia in Georgia and the long, protest-filled road to getting the film released.

Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.

There’s something primal and primordial about dance as a form of expression; like cinema, it has the innate ability to express emotions and passions we could never trap within the limiting confines of the spoken word. In Levan Akin‘s stunning And Then We Danced, dance becomes the conduit for a forbidden love between a young dancer named Merab (a rousing, expressive breakout from Levan Gelbakhiani) and his mysterious, rebellious rival Irakli (Bachi Vilishvili). A touching, layered tale of queer love amidst the restrictive traditions of Georgian culture, it’s one of the best films of last year, chiefly due to Akin’s deft directorial hand and the loose, cinema verite approach to capturing the little details of Merab’s world of dance.

After spending more than a year running around the festival circuit — it premiered to rousing response at Cannes, and has made its way through OUTshine, Chicago International Film Fest and even this year’s Sundance — And Then We Danced is finally coming to wider release. It premiered last weekend in NY and LA, and is hitting Chicago’s Music Box Theatre on Valentine’s Day (Music Box Films has picked up the film for distribution). The Spool sat down for a lovely chat with writer/director Levan Akin about the film’s origins, Akin’s desire to open up the world (and Georgian culture in particular) to a greater tolerance of LGBTQ+ people, and the protests and secrecy that have hounded this film in its home country around its release.

(More of a Comment, Really… is a proud member of the Chicago Podcast Coop. Thanks to Overcast for sponsoring this episode!)

And Then We Danced Trailer:

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