For a species with a limited shelf life, we spend a bizarre amount of time thinking about death. Since early man we’ve surrounded our exit from the mortal coil with rituals and rites. Indeed, the ancient Egyptians seem to have built many of their pyramids with the intention of using them to fire the dead to the stars. These customs still flourish in modern society, particularly in countries like Georgia which retain a strong depth of religious feeling. Bebia, à mon seul désir uses it as a starting point to explore familial relationships.

Ariadna (Anastasia Davidson) left her small village behind to embark on a career as a model. When her grandmother (Guliko Gurgenidze) dies, the teenager returns to her hometown; feeling more like a stranger than a local. After a tetchy reunion with her resentful mother (Anastasia Chanturaia), she discovers that it’s tradition for the youngest member of a household to undertake a ritual based on the myth of Ariadne and her thread.

Bebia, à mon seul désir is a captivating and spellbinding tale of a young woman on a voyage of self-discovery. The first thing you notice is Veronica Solovyeva’s jaw-dropping black and white cinematography, which is used expertly by Juja Dobrachkous to impart a dual past and present narrative. The pacing is also immaculately judged, whilst the clash between old and new is deftly navigated. Bebia, à mon seul désir is one of the best first features you’ll see this year.

Bebia, à mon seul désir screens at International Film Festival Rotterdam.