Directed by Rati Oneli • Documentary • 2017 • 100 minutes
Chiatura is a city in Western Georgia. There was a time when it supplied 50% of the world's manganese, and at its peak the mine employed up to 10,000 workers. Today, with drastically reduced manganese production, dangerous working conditions and little prospect for any improvement, it is well on its way to becoming a ghost town. The city was founded by Georgian poets and aristocrats in the 19th century, but was turned into a center of industry by the Soviet regime. For the Soviets, it was the embodiment of a bright, utopian future: Theaters, universities, concert halls, stadiums and parks were built, along with the first and largest public aerial cable car transportation system in the world. Chiatura was a human and technological experiment on a grand scale that ultimately failed. A prizewinner in Madrid, Minsk, Sarajevo, San Francisco and Tbilisi, CITY OF THE SUN features stunning vistas—still beautiful in their state of melancholy neglect—and puts a human face on a city devastated by an industrial and economic system that sated its needs and moved on.