Gela Babluani's first film is a stark, neo-noir thriller. Just kidding, but that's what every other review has said in a nutshell. I guess the noir tag isn't too far off. There are detectives (though they aren't that instrumental to the plot), it is in black and white, and it is extremely tense. I guess the stark tag comes from the black and white film, which is the cliche way to describe such a film with serious themes.
13 was written and directed by Gela Babluani and stars his younger brother George. They are the sons of famed Georgian (that would be the country) director Temur Babluani (I don't know who that is either).
The story starts with Sebastien (Babluani the younger) working as a laborer in a small coastal city of France. We see that his family is living in near poverty and that they depend heavily on Sebastien's wages. Apparently, they are Georgian immigrants, but I would never have known if I hadn't read up on it. Sebastien is working for a morphine addicted criminal who is quickly running out of money.
While working on the hole in his roof, Sebastien hears his employer talking about going to Paris to get in on another score where he is hoping to bring home a substantial sum of money. Days later, the employer overdoses leaving his mistress penniless and unable to pay Sebastien for any of his work. By fortuitous chance Sebastien finds the letter containing the ticket to Paris with instructions. Down on his luck and unable to bring himself to tell his family that he wouldn't be paid, he takes the ticket and goes to find his fortune in Paris (think Antioni's The Passenger).
Little to his knowledge, Sebastien has a determined detective on his trail, as his former employer was under surveillance. Through clever means unbeknownst to Sebastien, he avoids the police and makes it to his destination none the wiser.
Sebastien's youthful naivety and innocence is abounding. He has had a fresh hair cut and wearing his best (and probably only) pair of dress shoes. Once he meets his sponsors though, things go beyond his control. Circumstances dictate that Sebastien now has no choice but to take the dead man's place as his sponsors stand to lose money and credibility if not. He is only referred to by his number for the game, 13.