Saba. 1929. USSR. Directed by Mikheil Chiaureli. Silent; Russian intertitles, simultaneous English translation, and piano accompaniment. 100 min.
With Aleksandre Jaliashvili, Veriko Anjaparidze, L. Januashvili. The stylish, moody silent-era melodrama Saba—a morality tale about the hazards of alcohol consumption that is nonetheless not without humor—reworks Boris Sigal’s play The Trial of Stepan Korolev, setting the action in Tbilisi rather than Leningrad and significantly developing the storyline with respect to protagonist, Saba (Jaliashvili). The film displays dynamic shot compositions, sophisticated editing, and expressive character types in both the lead and supporting roles, and the location shooting offers glimpses of Tbilisi’s distinctive landmarks.