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Salt for Svanetia (1930)

Jim Shvante (marili svanets) (original title)
Story of distant mountainous region in Georgia that depicts folklore, lifestyle and daily routines of Svani people, focuses on the scarcity of salt in Svaneti region. Rich with documentary ... See full summary »


Mikhail Kalatozov


Sergey Tretyakov (based upon an article by) (as S. Tretlakov)


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Story of distant mountainous region in Georgia that depicts folklore, lifestyle and daily routines of Svani people, focuses on the scarcity of salt in Svaneti region. Rich with documentary value, the movie also served for Soviet propaganda. Written by Daviti Zhorzholiani

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TV-14 | See all certifications »



Soviet Union



Release Date:

24 May 1930 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Salt for Svanetia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sakhkinmretsvi See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(1997 alternate)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Ushguli villages, where the movie was shot, contain buildings that are part of the UNESCO Heritage site of Upper Svaneti. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1997, Film Preservation Associates copyrighted a version with a rousing orchestral score by and English subtitles by Alexander Litvak. It was produced for video by and runs 54 minutes. See more »


Featured in Soy Cuba, O Mamute Siberiano (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

An Inventive Mixture Of Symbolism, Ethnography And Propaganda

Deep in the Caucasian mountains is the region of Svanetia; cut off from civilization by mountains and glaciers. They have snow 8 months out of the year on their mountain pass and thus the Ushkul tribe has remained isolated for centuries, maintaining almost intact their customs and traditions.

"Jim Shvante" ( Salt For Svanetia ) (1930) was directed by Herr Mikhail Kalatozov and certainly is a brilliant, astonishing Soviet film masterpiece that must be watched by any worthy silent film fan.

The film is a semi-documentary about the Ushkul tribe, and their harsh conditions of life in their isolated region. Naturally the communists come to the rescue and provide a brilliant economic plan that brings the region into the twentieth century but of course their way of living and religion must go in the name of progress. It seems that Georgian film directors like Herr Kalatozov (who began his career as a cameraman), had a special fondness for documentaries, giving this film format an excellent opportunity to depict the special idiosyncrasies of the Georgian country.

"Jim Shvante" makes brilliant use of the camera and has man inventive technical tricks. Of course this is all in the service of propaganda but is aesthetically exciting Every shot in the picture is full of epic atmosphere and of course we have the contrast of Soviet progress and modernity (lots of close-ups of machinery and collective human efforts) with the underdevelopment of the Svans who are being held back by their religion and customs. The film is an inventive mixture of symbolism, ethnography and propaganda.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must continue his aristocratic isolation from the modern world.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/

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