Salt for Svaneti (Jim Shvante), 1930

The inhabitants of the highlands of Svaneti in Georgia lead difficult lives under poor dwelling conditions. In search of food, salt, and money they flee to the lowlands. The journey back home is full of danger and many die on the way. Yet some manage to return with salt. This changes the life of the Svans, who begin to build roads through the mountains. Many of the scenes depicting the harsh everyday life were staged, and the authenticity of some scenes has been disputed by the Svans.
The Georgian painter David Kakabadze was part of the production team.

Mikhail Kalatozov (born Mikheil Kalatozishvili) was a Georgian filmmaker whose films were banned under Stalin. In the 1950s he became famous for his film The Cranes Are Flying (1957), which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes. I Am Cuba (1964), a surreal hymn on the Cuban Revolution, was only rediscovered in the 1990s.


Film still, Salt for Svaneti (Jim Shvante), 1930, Michail Kalatosow (1903–1973), film, black/white, no sound, 54 min.