Surely the most fully-formed, rigorous, and impressive debut feature since Bi Gan’s Kaili Blues, Dea Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning has been drawing comparisons to the work of Carlos Reygadas, Michael Haneke, and Chantal Akerman since it first appeared on the festival circuit last year. In truth, Kulumbegashvili takes cues from these masters but finds a voice solely her own, including use of stationary long takes (shot on 35mm!) that these directors could only dream of. Our main character is Yana, a Jehovah’s Witness who is married to a missionary just outside of Tblisi. An exploration of persecution of all sorts, Beginning marks what is hopefully the start of a long and fruitful career for Ms. Kulumbegashvili. Trigger warning: sexual violence. In Georgian with English subtitles.