Gela Babluani (Georgia, 1979), son of Soviet-era actor Temur Babluani,
debuted with the philosophical black-and-white thriller
13 Tzameti (2005).
The film opens in a French seaside town where a young Georgian immigrant, Sebastien, is doing some handyman work for a French couple. His brother is a cripple and they live with their parents and a sister in a small apartment.
The man who hired Sebastien is
an aging drug-addict,
who can hardly stand up. His wife asks Sebastien for help
when the old man collapses on the beach.
We see that someone is watching the house.
Sebastien is working on the roof and can hear and see what is going on inside the house.
He hear Jean-Francois discuss with a friend a trip to make a lot of money, which he needs because he's broke.
One day a letter arrives: it contains a train ticket and a hotel reservation.
Jean-Francois hides it but his wife finds it and leaves it on a desk by the window.
Later, Jean-Francois dies in the bathtub and during the commotion the letter flies out of the window. Sebastien finds it.
The day after, the wife informs Sebastien that the house will be inherited by
Jean-Francois' sister, who will probably put it up for sale, and therefore
nobody will pay Sebastien for his work.
Sebastien decides to keep the letter, having heard that there's a lot of money
for the job that Jean-Francois was supposed to do.
The people watching the house are cops. They interrogate the wife and she tells them of the letter and guesses that Sebastien stole it and plans to take
Jean-Francois' place. Somehow the police is interested in that "job".
The wife tells them about the train ticket and the cops follow Sebastien when
he shows up at the train station. They lose him because Sebastien has instructions to get off one station before the ticket's destination and to take a taxi to
a distant location, where another car takes him to a secluded villa.
Later the police interrogate the taxi driver and find out where
the taxi dropped Sebastien off but not where he went from there.
At the villa Sebastien is introduced to the sinister men who were waiting for
Jean-Francois and confesses that Jean-Francois is dead and he wants to take his place (without knowing what the job is).
They accept him but still don't tell him what this is all about.
We see that rich men are placing bets for a lot of money.
Each rich man bets on his player. We still don't know what the game is.
Then the players are given pistols and ask to lead them with a bullet.
Now we realize that this is a game of Russian roulette and the gamblers
are betting on which player will survive. There are 13 players (Sebastien is number 13) and each one
points his pistol to the head of the player in front of him. At a signal, they
all pull the trigger. Some are killed and their bodies are hastily covered with a blanket.
Sebastien's hand shakes and he can't find the strength to pull the trigger until a bodyguard points a gun at his own head.
Sebastien pulls the trigger and luckily for him nothing happens: he is one of his survivors, and his mentor is one of the gamblers who wins.
But it's not over yet. There's a second round in which the survivors must play
the same game using pistols loaded with two bullets.
Sebastien survives because the man aiming at him gets killed before he can pull the trigger, but Sebastien has killed the man in front of him: he is now an
We also learn that one of the players is the brother of one of the gamblers.
Sebastien is bothterrified and disgusted but cannot leave: they would kill him.
In the third round the players are given three bullets each. Again, Sebastien
kills the man in front of him and survives because the man behind him gets killed.
The final round is a duel between Sebastien and the brother.
Sebastien survives because he kills the brother while it looks like the brother refused to shoot.
Sebastien is having a nervous breakdown for both traumas: having killed people,
and having risked his own life. But he picks up his reward (a lot of money)
and walks out. He then hides in the woods and walks alone to the train station.
He mails the money to his brother and calls him to tell him to pick up the parcel. The taxi driver recognizes him and alerts the cops, who surround him and search in vain for the money. The chief inspector knows what is going on but needs proofs. Sebastien refuses to collaborate. He is released and
takes the train home. The gambling brother kills him and steals his bag, thinking that it contains the money.
He then co-directed with his father
L'Heritage (2006) and remade his debut as