6.8/10
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Ukrainskaya rapsodiya (1961)

| Drama, War

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(story and screenplay) (as A. Levada)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Olga Reus-Petrenko ...
Oksana Marchenko
Yevgenia Miroshnichenko ...
Oksana Marchenko (singing voice)
Eduard Koshman ...
Anton Petrenko
Yuriy Gulyayev ...
Vadim
Natalya Uzhviy ...
Nadyezhda Petrovna
Aleksandr Gaj ...
Vayner (as Aleksandr Gay)
Valeriy Vitter ...
Rudi
Stepan Shkurat ...
Grandfather
Sergey Petrov ...
Jury chairman (as S. Petrov)
Nikolay Slobodyan
A. Pospelov
Olga Nozhkina
Dmitriy Kapka ...
Prisoner of war
Ekaterina Litvinenko ...
Mother
V. Belyi
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Drama | War

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Also Known As:

Rhapsodie ukrainienne  »

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User Reviews

 
All them corn fields and ballet in the evening.
3 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

...said Fred Kite of similar films. However, it's an early film by Sergei Paradjanov and there can't be many films with more contrast between script and direction. The script is a banal pile of clichés, but it is filmed with sumptuous, leisured joy in vision and visual effects, often showing what Paradjanov would do later- an overhead shot of the escaped Anton stumbling into a church, or soldiers in a destroyed theatre listening to The Moonlight Sonata and long shots tracking characters. There is a continual clash between the unreality of genre and the non-realism Paradjanov adopted later.

The film opens as Oksana, who has just won a contest for singers in Paris just after WWII, and Anton, JUST released as a P.O.W. in Germany, travel back to the Ukraine on different trains and flashbacks show how they got to be where they are.

An important aspect of the film is the power of music- Oksana, who is seen as as much a healer as a singer as when she is a nurse, the organist and his son who hide and protect Anton, the frequent performances of music (originally the film was supposed to showcase performers from a local conservatory, but Paradjanov transformed it), Vadim, who persuades Oksana to leave the village and go to a conservatory and ends up as a village teacher- are all transfigured by their association with music. Indeed, the story's own value is undercut by music- Oksana is at a ballet of Peer Gynt, explaining the plot to a blinded soldier. At the climax the abandoned Solveig imagines that Peer has come home and they dance joyously, but- as Oksana says, "It's only a dream.", which emphasises the unreality of her own meeting with Anton a few minutes later.

The other key image is railways and rivers- made explicit just before the end in Oksana's voice-over, but built up to by shots of boats floating on the Dneiper (one shot of a garland of flowers floating downstream is exactly echoed in Andrei Rublev), a leisurely rural idyll contrasted with trains rushing past ruins and shots of rushing rails and sleepers.

It isn't Paradjanov at his peak- though he had a much bigger budget for extras and effects here, which he uses well, if sometimes conventionally- and he's still learning to be Paradjanov, but it's worth watching for its beauty and its other qualities- avoidance of the obvious is one: Paradjanov's Paris has no Eiffel Tower or Arc De Triomph.


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