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Ashug-Karibi (1988)

Wandering minstrel Ashik Kerib falls in love with a rich merchant's daughter, but is spurned by her father and forced to roam the world for a thousand and one nights - but not before he's ... See full summary »

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(as Georgy Badridze), (story "Ashik Kerib the Lovelorn Minstrel")
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Cast

Cast overview:
Yuri Mgoyan
Ramaz Chkhikvadze
Konstantin Stepankov ...
(as Konstantin Adamov)
Veronique Matonidze
Baia Dvalishvili
David Dovlatian
Levan Natroshvili
Slava Stepanian
Nodar Dugladze
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Storyline

Wandering minstrel Ashik Kerib falls in love with a rich merchant's daughter, but is spurned by her father and forced to roam the world for a thousand and one nights - but not before he's got the daughter to promise not to marry till his return. It's told in typical Paradjanov style overlaid with Azerbaijani folk songs. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Drama

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Release Date:

May 1989 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

The Hoary Legends of the Caucasus  »

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Sergei Parajanov's last completed film. See more »

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Featured in Parajanov: The Last Spring (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mesmerizing!
6 March 2005 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

I've seen all four of Parajanov's well-known films (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, The Color of a Pomegranate, The Legend of Suram Fortress, and this), and I have to say that this is one of my favorites.

Some people have said that this is a "minor" work, and that you can see evidence of a tight budget. I'd disagree with both of them. Perhaps it IS a minor work in that it is less serious than Parajanov's previous films, but it is tremendously fun to watch! The film whisks the viewer away to a fairy-tale world full of expansive landscapes and golden riches. The costumes and decorations are beautiful and the music is absolutely gorgeous (Parajanov hired a composer from the region to create the music for this film; the result is one of the best movie scores I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. It's folk music, yes, but it's folk music lifted to the realm of high art; the music almost makes this movie worth seeing just by itself).

As for evidence of a tight budget... who knows? Perhaps the magnificent illusion is standing on thin ice sometimes, but the ice never breaks, which is the important thing; you never SEE that Parajanov was working under a tight budget, although sometimes you get the impression that you maybe WOULD see if the camera zoomed out just a little bit. He does use a lot of paintings to illustrate some events, but in my opinion this only adds to the film's extremely rich atmosphere.

Without giving too much away, I'll say that the film has a story based on an old Eastern legend, and it progresses in episodes, much like "Legend of Suram Fortress". It is one of the peculiarities of Parajanov's style that his films do not depend on the credibility of the story or the characters (although the actors in this film are quite good); this is a fantastical fairy tale, and we understand when watching the film that fairy tales have their own sense of logic.

Although "Color of a Pomegranate" remains at the top of my list of favorite films by Parajanov, "Ashik Kerib" is a delightful movie and probably the best one to start with for new-comers to this director. Watching it is in truth more like watching a musical, ballet or folk-dance than watching a film. There is a lot of excellently choreographed dancing in the film, along with excellent artwork and excellent music. If you have an interest in any of those fields, you will probably love this film.

Now as for where to get it... there are currently 2 DVDs available on the market: a KINO 2-in-1-DVD featuring Ashik Kerib and Legend of Suram Fortress and a RusCiCo DVD featuring just Ashik Kerib. I advise that you get the RusCiCo DVD despite the fact that it's only slightly less expensive than the 2-in-1 KINO DVD, because the video quality on the KINO DVD is quite bad. If you want to see HOW bad, go to a website called "DVDBeaver.com" and see their DVD comparison of the two versions of Ashik Kerib; whereas RusCiCo's version is sharp with bright colours, KINO's version is blurry with muddy colours and unremovable green subtitles.

This is unfortunately the only Parajanov movie that is currently available in a decent DVD release; "Color of a Pomegranate" is only available in a KINO DVD with transfer as bad as in "Ashik Kerib"'s, and "Legend of Suram Fortress" is available in the blurry KINO 2-in-1 DVD, as well as in a RusCiCo DVD with sharp image quality but an unremovable Russian voice-over (not dubbing; it's basically one Russian voice translating what the people are saying while the audio in the background becomes quieter). "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" is not available on DVD at all, to the best of my knowledge.

If you liked this movie, I'd also recommend "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" (the world's first animated film, made in 1926 using only shadow puppets and tinted backgrounds and based on tales from Arabian Nights) and perhaps "The City of Lost Children" (a 1995 French film that creates its own dark fairy-tale universe).


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