Shio is a 13-year-old boy living in the seaside town of Kobuleti. He spends summer renting sun loungers on the beach to make ends meet and finance his father's drinking habit. Neglected by the only parent he has and unable to sleep, Shio starts distracting himself from his trauma by daydreaming.
Shio dissociates during working hours – he transforms objects around him into daydreams with elements from books about the sea he’s reading. He often gets in trouble for neglecting his duties.
He sees Maro, a granny selling swimming tubes. Maro wears all black to honor a son she lost. She takes a liking to Shio, they often share food.
When a strong storm comes, Shio’s work shuts down. Unable to endure his father and triggered by the thunderstorm, Shio gets lost in a vivid daydream he has no control over.
He is helped out by Maro's gentle embrace, as the daydream fades to black – the black of her clothing. She holds him as he peacefully falls asleep in her lap, holding her hand for comfort.
My goal is to explore the struggles of maladaptive daydreaming as a trauma response in children. As someone who had to overcome this habit without any external help, I personally resonate with Shio’s impulse to disassociate when the outside world becomes unbearable. I aim to visualize the panic that sets in once you realize you have lost control over your daydreams and the gradual descent of letting the fantasy take over. For readers or creative people the allure to chase the story in your head can be too tempting to abandon, even if it ruins your life.
The story juxtaposes detached Shio and the lively town of Kobuleti – a place full of unique personality. There are many idiosyncrasies of Georgian seaside sprinkled through the film as a love-letter to my childhood, the Black Sea and its subtle duality that always intrigued me. It evokes a sense of wonder while also being foul; provides an escape but simultaneously locks you in; inspires fantastic tales and is the source of nightmares.