In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her, his grief lasts months; finally he rejoins the colorful life around... See full summary »
In his debut Mikhail Vartanov presents the ancient and modern art of Armenia through post-impressionist painter Martiros Saryan's silent commentary of gestures. Biblical landscapes, the ... See full summary »
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One of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century, Sergei Parajanov's "Color of the Pomegranate," a biography of the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova (King of Song) reveals the poet's life... See full summary »
Colourful 'optimistic tragedy' of a poor family in Ukraine, living in the Carpathian mountains near the Romanian border, during the Second World War. Five sons of the family make up the ... See full summary »
In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her, his grief lasts months; finally he rejoins the colorful life around him, marrying Palagna. She wants children but his mind stays on his lost love. To recapture his attention, Palagna tries sorcery, and in the process comes under the spell of the sorcerer, publicly humiliating Ivan, who then fights the sorcerer. The lively rhythms of village life, the work and the holidays, the pageant and revelry of weddings and funerals, the change of seasons, and nature's beauty give proportion to Ivan's tragedy. Written by
For decades it has been believed that "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" won the British Academy Award. This was most notably stated in the famous "Film Encyclopedia" by Ephraim Katz. Recently, however, the disciple of Sergei Parajanov, Martiros Vartanov, obtained on official confirmation from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which stated that the movie was not a BAFTA award recipient; although in 1965 the film won the Grand Prix at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival and a record number of other awards on the festival circuit. See more »
When the two children run down the hill to have a bath in the river, the entire camera rig, including the operator, can be seen in a shadow on the ground. See more »
The movie starts from the tragic story of a peasant youth who falls in love, looses his loved one and eventually dies. The narrative is very simple and it only constitutes a departure point used to build a whole universe that revolves around the life of Ukrainian peasants in the Carpathian Mountains at the middle of the 19th century. Essential to the movie is the description of a life which is so much filled with beauty and emotion coming from beliefs and customs that to forget it would be simply a shame. One has to acknowledge that the film was banned in USSR because the language is not Russian but Ukrainian and the film emphasizes what the regime must have thought as the particularities of a local culture encouraging a type of nationalism that didn't conform to the Soviet doctrine. Since it is a movie about a rural community religion obviously plays the most important role in these peoples lives (something that was also a problem for the regime). But Christianity does not occupy the whole specter of religious beliefs, as the movie very cleverly shows, heathen traditions, maybe older than Christianity, have a greater power over people's lives. Christianity is in a way the official religion that glues the community together, people greet themselves with "Praised be Jesus", but other spiritual forces are also working in this world, and we can see that considering the appeal to witchcraft, the presence of ghosts and so on.
The movie-makers were not, in my opinion, trying to present a story but a way of life, a forgotten world. The soundtrack of this film is absolutely amazing, the costumes are beautiful and the landscapes are to die for. The brilliantly executed cinematography makes this film one of the most visually impressive I have ever seen, the color helps the development of the narrative ( there is a shift from color to B&W similar to Stalker or The Wizard of Oz), the angles render the images unforgettable (when a tree falls on one of the characters the viewer's perspective falls with the tree, when a character is killed with an axe you are situated in the place of the victim) and at the end when the main character sees his dead loved one and she pulls him into death, the man is presented in intense color and the woman seems almost black and white, emphasizing the difference between the realm of the living and that of the dead.
This movie will reveal in only 90 minutes more than hundreds of pages of ethnology will be able to tell you, making you really live in that fantastic realm. Many of the devices present in cinema at the time are effectively used with the purpose of creating this enchanting atmosphere. We start from inter-titles similar to those in silent movies and go up to the most striking editing job present on screen, more challenging than what Godard was doing at that time, there are freeze-frames used very efficiently, low camera angles similar to those used by Welles and a brilliant speculation of the qualities of color in a period when Bergman was making All These Women which is in my opinion very poor in comparison with his B&W films. Godard had already made Le Mepris but the use of color there is not as challenging as it is here.
This movie goes to show you that you can be both conservative and revolutionary, Paradjanov uses the most up to date cinema techniques to recreate the world of forgotten ancestors, and we would say a backward, even primitive world! Is this paradoxical? Like art itself!
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