The one joy in the lives of a mother and daughter comes from the regular letters sent to them from Paris from the family's adored son, Otar. When the daughter finds out that Otar has died suddenly, she tries to conceal the truth from her mother, changing the course of their lives forever.
Three generations of women endure a tough existence in post Soviet Georgia. Grandmother, Eka (Esther Gorintin) lives with daughter, Marina (Nino Khomassouidze) and granddaughter Ada (Dinara Drukarova) in a small apartment, in the bleak city of Tsibili. Eka lives for letters and phone calls from her beloved son Otar, who has been forced to seek work in Paris. When Marina and Ada receive word that Otar has died, they resolve to keep the information from Eka, for fear that the news will kill her. The lies compound and become a destructive force, but they also reveal the inner secrets of the daughter and granddaughter.
Since Otar Left is a lovingly rendered story, that is both sad and uplifting. Julie Bertuccelli's background as a documentary maker serves the story well, treating us to fly on the wall observations. With beautiful locations and delicate cinematography, this film explores the intricacies of family relationships, the lure of the West and the complexities of a country that is still struggling with its social and political past.