Letters to Max

The story of the contested state of Abkhazia told though an exchange of letters between the filmmaker and its Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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  • Director Eric Baudelaire
  • Producer Eric Baudelaire
  • Screenwriter Eric Baudelaire
  • With Maxim Gvinjia
  • France 2014
  • 103 mins
  • Production company Poulet-Malassis

When filmmaker Eric Baudelaire posted a letter to ‘Maxim Gvinjia, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sukhum, Republic of Abkhazia,’ he expected it to be returned immediately with a ‘destination unknown’ notice. To his surprise, ten weeks later he received a phone call from Max saying that he had received the letter but could not reply on paper as the post office in Abkhazia could not handle international mail. So begins a playful exchange of letters and developing friendship between Eric and Max that chronicles the story of the contested state of Abhkazia, which seceded from Georgia during the civil war in 1992-1993 and remains recognised by just a handful of countries. In a year when questions of self-determined statehood are in the forefront of our minds, Letters to Max is a timely meditation on the paradox of a country, both as a physical and legal space, and how new nations might be imagined into existence.

Benjamin Cook