Author Topic: 1960s World Cinema: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, USSR)  (Read 1561 times)

pixote

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« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 03:07:50 AM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

Thor

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Re: 1960s World Cinema: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, USSR)
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 11:07:55 AM »
Woo! I've actually seen this one!
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Re: 1960s World Cinema: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, USSR)
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2009, 05:46:33 PM »
We need more films like this and The Horse Thief.  Though both films show people and cultures not usually seen on the screen, Paradjanov and Tian's approaches are different.  Paradjanov has bold camera setups and movements that are nothing like the style we see in his other films available on Region 1 DVD especially The Color of Pomegranates.  The visual style matches the psychedelic content.  The sequences beginning with the effects of the sorcerer's spell are remarkable.  Ultimately, it's a love story and quite a unique one.
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pixote

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Re: 1960s World Cinema: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, USSR)
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2016, 03:47:07 PM »


















































Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors  (Sergei Parajanov, 1965)

Shadows. That's a laugh. As if the film were going to present flickering glimpses of some lost time. No, this is one of the most vibrant films you'll ever see. It makes the frenetic opening of Kusturica's Time of the Gypsies (which I'd guess was inspired by Parajanov) feel subdued by comparison. The screenshots above, wonderful as I think they are, fail to convey the manic, swirling energy of the silent film-style visuals energy amplified considerably by the relentless eddying of the traditional folk songs on the soundtrack. This isn't a film. It's a drunken puppet show put on by a drunk puppeteer for a drunk audience. And it's dazzling.

Typical of drunken entertainment, Shadows of Forgetten Ancestors is also fairly confusing. I'm generally not much for symbolism, which remains true here, so I was more engaged by the simple love story of the film's first half than the hallucinogenic chaos of the second. I'm positive I would definitely get more out of a second viewing, but even after one hundred viewings I'd still lack anything close to full coherence. That's not necessarily a flaw, though. The pace of the poetry is so thrilling that I was generally happy to be outstripped by it. There are a few moments that border on cheesy, however, as the reach of the film's vision exceeds its grasp. Strong performances could have improved things as well, but puppets have their limits.

This marathon is largely about transitioning cinematic landscapes amid the general politic and social shift of the 1960s, and few films fit the bill better, with Parajanov initiating his resistance against Soviet social realism. It's not a movie that captures shadows. It's one that continues to cast them.

Grade: B+

For more on Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, check out the epic review by joem18b, along with the thoughts of Thor, MartinTeller, Verite, 1SO, and michael x.

Up next: Larisa Shepitko's Wings (USSR, 1966)

pixote
« Last Edit: September 03, 2016, 03:51:55 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

goodguy

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Re: 1960s World Cinema: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, USSR)
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2016, 08:22:04 PM »
The films of Yuri Ilyenko might also be of interest. Ilyenko was the DP on Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, which with his highly agile camera work is quite different from Parajanov's other films. I've only seen Ilyenko's The Eve of Ivan Kupala so far, but it's at least as impressive as this one.

pixote

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1960s World Cinema: Wings (1966, USSR)
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 05:39:11 PM »


Wings  (Larisa Shepitko, 1966)

In case you didn't know, Soviet cinema just has the best cinematography. I'm so glad I didn't watch Wings on DVD because narrowing down which screenshots to keep would have been a most time-consuming task. There's a crispness to the black-and-white photography here that's almost otherworldly. Everything is a shimmery silver with a luminous exuberance to it; but, simultaneously, everything is a pale gray, like rain clouds moving in. This look aligns perfectly with the state of mind of Nadezhda Petrukhina (a nicely nuanced performance by Mayya Bulgakova), who is at once proud and confident, aglow in her past glories as a WWII pilot; and also supremely lonely and disconnected, living a too ordinary life as the headmistress at a school, unable to bridge the wall between herself and the students, or, really, the whole vast divide between her whole war generation and the generation that followed. It's a lovely character study, one which I swear is reminiscent in style and tone of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), even though I haven't seen that movie in forever and don't really remember it.

Wings is a really impressive debut film from Larisa Shepitko, and it has me extra anxious now to catch up with The Ascent even though I'm pretty sure that I'm going to love it, which is going to make me even more sad that Shepitko died shortly after finishing it, at the age of 41.

Grade: B+

Up next: Satyajit Ray's Charulata (India, 1964)

pixote
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 05:55:49 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.