Japan/ Netherlands


120 min

The Kists are Georgian Chechens who live in the Pankisi Gorge. The local men are known for their bravery but are also infamous for being seen as terrorists. The valley is going through a period of change, led by Leila, who lost her two sons in Syria. After the sorrow of their deaths, Leila starts a guesthouse with her daughter, believing that revitalizing the region through tourism could help remove the stigma and terrorist label attached to the valley. Her cousin Abo, too, has the soul of a fighter. But while many of his friends have went to Syria, he chooses a different path, starting a tour company with a Polish woman. The valley receives guests from Europe, women of different religions and cultures. But just when things are poised to improve, an incident occurs.

Original Language

Georgian/ Chechen/ Polish/ Russian


Hirotoshi Takeoka


Hirotoshi Takeoka


Herbert Hunger






Hirotoshi Takeoka

About the filmmaker.

Takeoka Hiroshi was born in Osaka, Japan and studied Japanese literature at the University of Kinki before joining the Image Forum Institute of the Moving Image to study filmmaking. Since 2010, he has worked on TV documentaries about people trying to cope with the Chechen conflict in Georgia’s Pankisi Valley. Chechenʼs Heart of Life won Japanʼs Best New Director Award (2014) and Mothers of Change (2019) won the ATP Best Documentary Award. His debut film, Adamiani, won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2022 Krakow Film Festival.

Hirotoshi Takeoka

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