Cinema Modernissimo > 22:00


Sergej Paradžanov

(In case of rain, the screening will be cancelled)


Film Notes

It was Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (1962) that brought about Parajanov’s Damascus experience. In 1964, when Ukraine’s Dovzhenko Studio charged him with the task of bringing Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky’s novel Tini zabutykh predkiv to the screen to mark the author’s centenary, Parajanov’s approach was resoundingly poetic. Ostensibly a tale of doomed love between members of two warring families, the plot is both fragmented and interspersed with fantasy. Harking back to the Formalist-influenced works of early Dovzhenko (Earth, 1930), Parajanov forged the blueprint for a cinema derived from folklore, poetry, song, and dance. Shot with the participation of the Hutsul Rusyn hill people in the Carpathian Mountains in West Ukraine, Parajanov straddled the line demarcating ethnography and surrealist flights of fancy. Through elaborate camera mounts and complex printing effects, cinematographer Yurii Illienko took Sergei Urusevsky’s notion of the “emotional camera” into uncharted psychedelic territory. Composer Myroslav Skoryk drew upon the repertoire of Hutsul folk music, with trembita, long, distinctive mountain horns, featuring both on screen and on the soundtrack. The result changed Ukrainian filmmaking, effectively birthing the “Kyiv School’” of poetic cinema (along with Ilyenko’s subsequent films as a director and those of Leonid Osyka), and influenced filmmakers in the South Caucasus (Armenia’s Artavazd Pelechian, Georgia’s Tengiz Abuladze), Central Asia (Uzbekistan’s Ali Khamraev, Kyrgyzstan’s Bolotbek Shamshiyev) and beyond (Czechoslovakia’s Juraj Jakubisko). By the time Tini zabutykh predkiv made it to New York, its delirious, hallucinatory qualities made it an unlikely psychedelic film. While Parajanov himself tended to talk down his previous work, there are, nevertheless, lines of continuity: the fairytale aspect of Andriesh, the attention to folk art evident in the short documentary Zoloti ruky, to name but two. When Tarkovsky, along with the Formalist critic (and would-be Parajanov scriptwriter) Viktor Shklovsky, wrote a letter protesting against Parajanov’s imprisonment during the 1970s, he recognised Tini zabutykh predkiv as one of two films that had changed cinema, both in the Soviet Union and abroad (the other was Parajanov’s subsequent completed feature: The Colour of Pomegranates, 1969).

Daniel Bird

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1912) di Mychajlo Kocjubyns’kyj. Scen.: Sergej Paradžanov, Ivan Čendej. F.: Jurij Illienko. M.: Marfa Ponomarenko. Scgf.: Heorhij Jakutovyč, Mychajlo Rakovskyj. Mus.: Myroslav Skoryk. Int.: Ivan Mykolajčuk (Ivan), Ihor Dzjura (Ivan da bambino), Larysa Kadočnikova (Marička), Valentyna Hlynko (Marička da bambina), Tat’jana Bestaeva (Palahna), Spartak Bagašvili (Jura lo stregone), Mykola Hryn’ko (Batag il pastore), Leonid Engibarov (Miko). Prod.: Studio cinematografico Dovženko. DCP. D.: 96’. Col.