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Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala (1968)

7.4
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Title: Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala (1968)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Boris Khmelnitskiy ...
Piotr
Larisa Kadochnikova ...
Pidorka
Yefim Fridman ...
Bassavruk
Dmitri Franko
Borislav Brondukov
Mykhailo Illienko
Dzhemma Firsova
Viktor Panchenko
Konstantin Ershov
David Yanover
Nikolai Silis
Aleksandr Sergiyenko ...
(as Sasha Sergiyenko)
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Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

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Release Date:

11 January 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Abend vor dem Fest Iwan Kupala  »

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Reminiscent of Paradjanov
18 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is now available on DVD in Russia, but there's no distributor name on the packaging (I bought it at a 505 store in St. Petersburg).

This is a little new wave gem. It's reminiscent of Sergo Paradjanov's "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" (1964) -- Ilyenko was Paradjanov's cameraman and both worked for Dovzhenko Studios in Kiev. Paradjanov's film (based on the Kotsiubynsky story of the same name) is set among the Hutsuls of western Ukraine while Ilyenko's takes place in central Cossack Ukraine. The considerable cultural differences are overcome by the similar approach to the material -- some critics use the term "Ukrainian Poetic Cinema" for the films made by the group around Paradjanov and Ilyenko, and you can read a fine article about them by Bohdan Nebesio on-line. Ilyenko went on to make "White Bird with a Black Spot," which I saw as an undergrad at UM and now have only the vaguest memory of; and the 2002 "Prayer for Hetman Mazepa" which had a very stormy reception.

The packaging says that this is a "poetic fantasy on the motifs of the stories of N. V. Gogol and Ukrainian folk tales." That's about right: the plot loosely follows Gogol's story, and also includes moments from the other "Dikanka" stories (the pig busting in on the Cossacks is especially nice), as well as from Ukrainian folk rituals.


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