13 Tzameti 2005 Movie Scene George Babluani as Sebastien getting ready for what's about to come

13 Tzameti [2005]

Remember the movie 13 [2010] that I reviewed a couple of years ago? 13 Tzameti is the original French movie and it’s a hundred times better than the remake! I know it sounds strange since they were both directed by Gela Babluani, but it’s true. While the Americanized version was bleak and too neat, the original grim and engaging movie is a work of art. The fact that it’s black and white only adds to its value, making it even more dreary and realistic. 13 Tzameti managed to address so many issues in just ninety minutes that I will now only try to name them.

First of all, there’s drug abuse and addiction, with its harrowing consequences. Poverty and hopelessness that many young people know too well, in this declining “capitalistic” society. And finally, the other side of the coin, the might, and debauchery that money and power bring. Cutting down on all non-essential elements, director Gela Babluani focused on the characters and the relatively simple story, leaving the viewers to ponder every little event and the shot. Did I mention the unbefuckinglivable tension that just overwhelms you after the first half of the movie? Yeah, there’s tension alright.

13 Tzameti is a perfect example of a low-budget movie done right. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, you should take a look at it and learn how to create something worth watching. If, however, you’re looking for something different from commercial thrillers so popular nowadays, it’s also a good choice. There’s no gore, special effects, or anything like that. Just a damn fine story and a bunch of intriguing characters. This is also a no-bullshit thriller without any melodrama.

Sebastien is a young carpenter working on an old house owned by an eccentric guy Jean-Francois. He’s just trying to get by and afford the next meal for himself and his family. Broke and hooked on drugs, Jean-Francois keeps saying that he is expecting a letter with the instructions for his next big score. However, the letter accidentally ends up in Sebastien’s hands. He decides to follow instructions not knowing what he’s getting himself in. And just how dangerous it might be.

And did I mention the tension? Oh yes, I did and I will again. Mostly because the first part of the movie is rather slow and full of mystery. You really don’t know where this whole thing is going but trust me, it’s going to end up in a terrific place. The cast did a pretty good job considering just how demanding the roles were. We get the opportunity to see people when they are at the end of their wits. I don’t want to reveal too much for you because of that second act pay off. So, just trust me on this one and check it out. You won’t regret it.

13 Tzameti 2005 Movie Scene A lightbulb with two stripes

Director: Gela Babluani

Writer:  Gela Babluani

Cast: George Babluani, Aurélien Recoing, Fred Ulysse, Nicolas Pignon, Vania Vilers, Christophe Vandevelde

Fun Facts: “Tzameti” is the Georgian word for thirteen


IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475169/

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