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Tini zabutykh predkiv
Tini zabutykh predkiv (1964)
Movie
  • Director:
    Sergei Parajanov
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Ivan Chendej,Mikhaylo Kotsyubinsky
  • Cast:
    Ivan Mykolaichuk,Larisa Kadochnikova,Tatyana Bestayeva
  • Time:
    1h 37min
  • Year:
    1964
In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her, his grief lasts months; finally he rejoins the colorful life around him, marrying Palagna. She wants children but his mind stays on his lost love. To recapture his attention, Palagna tries sorcery, and in the process comes under the spell of the sorcerer, publicly humiliating Ivan, who then fights the sorcerer. The lively rhythms of village life, the work and the holidays, the pageant and revelry of weddings and funerals, the change of seasons, and nature's beauty give proportion to Ivan's tragedy.
Casts
Cast overview:
Ivan Mykolaichuk Ivan Mykolaichuk - Ivan Paliychuk (as I. Mykolaichuk)
Larisa Kadochnikova Larisa Kadochnikova - Marichka Gutenyuk (as L. Kadochnykova)
Tatyana Bestayeva Tatyana Bestayeva - Palagna (as T. Bestayeva)
Spartak Bagashvili Spartak Bagashvili - Yurko Malfar (as S. Bagashvili)
Nikolay Grinko Nikolay Grinko - Vatag (as M. Grynko)
Leonid Yengibarov Leonid Yengibarov - Myko (as L. Yengibarov)
Nina Alisova Nina Alisova - Mother of Ivan (as N. Alisova)
Aleksandr Gai Aleksandr Gai - Father of Ivan (as O. Gai)
Neonila Gnepovskaya Neonila Gnepovskaya - Mother of Marichka (as N. Gnipovska)
Aleksandr Raydanov Aleksandr Raydanov - Father of Marichka (as O. Raydanov)
Igor Dzyura Igor Dzyura - Ivan as a child (as I. Dzyura)
Valentina Glinko Valentina Glinko - Marichka as a child (as V. Glyanko)

Tini zabutykh predkiv (1964)

For decades it has been believed that "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" won the British Academy Award. This was most notably stated in the famous "Film Encyclopedia" by Ephraim Katz. Recently, however, the disciple of Sergei Parajanov, Martiros Vartanov, obtained on official confirmation from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which stated that the movie was not a BAFTA award recipient; although in 1965 the film won the Grand Prix at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival and a record number of other awards on the festival circuit.

Used 180 degrees lens.

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

The band " A Hawk and a Hacksaw " arranged their sixth studio album "You Have Already Gone To The Other World " as a new and original soundtrack to the movie. They played their soundtrack alongside with the movie in cinemas and theaters in 2012.

French visa # 31588.

Winawel
Winawel
Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors is set in Western Ukraine (Carpathian mountains) circa the 1860's. It was banned in the USSR because it emphasized the unique Ukrainian culture and in fact the language throughout the film was Ukrainian and not Russian. Plus the references to the Church and religion could not have helped. The story is deceptively simple. As a child, Ivan falls in love with his neighbor and fathers killers daughter Marichka. The first half of the film deals with that love and the second with Ivan's downfall after she dies in an accident.

Shadows would probably not appeal to someone looking for great acting, strong characterizations and emotional pull. But, it more than makes up for these deficiencies in its visual brilliance and authenticity of periodic detail. This is one of the most beautiful looking films ever made. The elaborate costumes, the folk songs and simple village life all create a world that you know just had to have existed. Not exactly commercial fare, Shadows is a stunningly beautiful looking film and in fact a lesson in old Ukrainain culture. I highly recommend this for art-house film fans.
Vivaral
Vivaral
Good news/bad news. The good news is that Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Shadows), a truly exceptional film, is out in DVD format—and, the color reproduction was well worth waiting for. It's based on a masterpiece novel of the same name written by Ukrainian author (late 19th-early 20th centuries) Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky.

Journey into the past and experience the world-renowned Ukrainian Hutsul folklore and folkways that encyclopedists, historians, and authors depict by way of words and the film gives credence to via imagery, moods, symbolism, and sounds. Avenues you'll travel will branch off, giving you exposure to artistic embroideries, folk music, folk songs, ornate costumes, religious ceremonies, and traditional rituals (such as a traditional Hutsul wedding and a traditional Hutsul burial), along the way.

Folklife comes alive as you float down a river in a unique wooden raft, partake in Christmas festivities, encounter a sorcerer, and lots more--all against a backdrop of the magnificent Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains, where trees' shadows silhouette straight as they stretch for the stars and for the skies, where horses dress in tassels as they meander meadows and highlands, where Hutsuls converse across Carpathian Mountains via trembitas--and, where Ivan cannot forget his true love.

Shadows isn't your typical feel-good film--it's for the connoisseur of fine arts. If you want your senses stimulated, your imagination enlivened, and your knowledge of Hutsul culture expanded, then, this is the film for you!

Film director, Sergei Parajanov, was an Armenian born in Georgia. He insisted on filming Shadows in the Ukrainian language and refused to dub it into Russian. In his lifetime, he was persecuted by the Soviets, was arrested several times, spent years in prison, and his subsequent works were banned.

Later renamed Wild Horses of Fire for most foreign distributions, Shadows was Parajanov's first major work, and earned him international acclaim for its rich use of color and costume--it won six international film festival awards: London, San Francisco, Mar del Plata, New York, Montreal, and Thessaloniki.

Wikipedia states that Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan borrowed the title of their book, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search for Who We Are, from the movie of that same name, which they state has little in common with the "haunting 1964 film."

The bad news is that a number of descriptive entries are inaccurate. Reading the misleading descriptions on the VHS/DVD covers give the impression that the film is Russian. This film is licensed by Kino from the Russian distributor Ruscico, which is probably why the descriptions refer incorrectly to Russian rather than Ukrainian.

1. The descriptions on both the VHS and DVD covers state, in part, "depiction of the harsh realities of Russian regional history...." The phrase "Russian regional history" is incorrect and should read: "Ukrainian regional history." Not only is the film in the Ukrainian language, the Hutsuls are Ukrainians living in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains, and the film is based on a novel by Ukrainian author Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky (1864-1913).

Update: This has now been changed to good news on Amazon.com: the copy now reads "Ukrainian regional history." However, anybody looking at the actual VHS or DVD covers will still see these erroneous descriptions; thus, these points still need to be highlighted as incorrect.

2. Correction is also needed in the reference: "And although its unsentimental depiction of the harsh realities of Russian (sic—as referenced in no. 1 above) regional history forced visionary director Sergei Pararadjanov (The Color of Pomegranates) into direct conflict with bureaucrats then controlling the Soviet film industry...."

Director Parajanov insisted on filming his adaptation in the Ukrainian language and refused to dub it into Russian--that's what caused his conflict with Communist authorities--not his portrayal of the "harsh realities of Russian (sic—as referenced in no. 1 above) regional history." However, anybody looking at the VHS or DVD covers will still see these erroneous descriptions; thus, these points still need to be highlighted as incorrect.

To see 45 photos depicting Hutsuls while learning more about their culture, please visit Amazon.com and click on "images" in Mandrivnyk's book review of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a must see/must own DVD--at the very least, it should appear worldwide on library shelves and in personal collections. This DVD definitely deserves 10-stars!—Mandrivnyk

P. S. To see over 650 photos (with notes) of Ukraine that I took in 1993 and 1994, please visit the profile page of Mandrivnyk (Arlington Heights, IL) on Amazon.com. Visit each review (to view the photos in sequential order); if you visit the image gallery, you'll see the photos in random order. They'll enhance your knowledge and understanding of Ukraine and Ukrainians.
Xlisiahal
Xlisiahal
´Shadows´ is one of the best movies i´ve ever seen. The filming is so beautiful that it constantly makes you wonder how they did it, remind you, it was made in 1964. The way the lead characters feel is constantly expressed in color and camera movement, in a way i´ve never seen before. Notice how the colors are full in the first, happy part of the film, and how they get faded more and more to an almost black and white teint along with grief of Ivan, the male lead. At the end it turns to a blood red fury and then there is nothing but the dead. The folk music, with very poetic lyrics also contributes a lot to the sphere in this film. Again, i never saw something like that before, normally i hate folk music, now it fitted perfectly. And then the ending,it´s so sad, i almost cried my eyes out. What an archievement, it´s the most beautifullest thing i´ve ever seen.
Contancia
Contancia
This is one of the best movies ever made!!! I don't think even that describes how strongly I feel for this movie and its director. In a world of cinematic rubbish Paradjanov stands as a warrior fighting for long lost cause; making a movie that actually transcends the viewer to the world the director is trying to create. It has the most unique camera angles and shots that were made in most amazing proximity. The richness of its photography will take you to the Carpathian Mountains and leave you astonished. This movie is full or drama, folklore and above all, it surpasses all the cinematic standards ever set for a motion picture. Made in the sixties, during Soviet regime, this movie was banned from the screen for it's symbolic context and references to religion. Starting from the opening scene to the very last one, it will keep you on the edge and it will exceed every expectation you have for it. You won't only watch it but you'll live it. If you're a true cinema lover watch this film...it'll change your life.
Nikojas
Nikojas
I was brought up in a backward Polish village where the Ukrainian background was also present (I could in most part understand the language of the movie). This movie reminded me of my long forgotten childchood in a place where people didn't lock their houses and lived very simple lives. Magnificent visual effects, melodious folk music and probably the music of Sergei Prokofiev or someone close to his style complete the picture. I believe it is a universal story about love, life, death and that all things that are nice are turning into oblivion. I myself emigrated to America, then came back after some years, though changed and working mostly for Western companies. Though being generally a child of Western European and American culture I acknowledge that it pays to keep at least part of our original heritage. Miroslaw
Jieylau
Jieylau
For a couple of years we had this VHS tape lying about the place. Didn't know what was on it; I just vaguely remember that a friend once asked me to tape this Russian film for her. The rest: forgot to give her the tape, she forgot to ask, forgot all about the tape, and 90 minutes ago decided to put it in the player. Oh my god.

***spoilers ahead***

I am not into Russian anthropology, nor am I well placed to judge Russian acting qualities, but that's beside the point. The story's so straightforward, beautiful though downhill, and the visuals are so utterly stunning... some examples: the angle from the falling tree; the myriads of shots from below (shots from beneath the tree he's in); when he approaches the cross on his lover's grave with the goat: you see him, then a camera angle from between the grass, you think it's him looking, but then you see him coming in from the right.

This is not just artsy bollocks. It adds to the heathen atmosphere; you feel the ghosts are everywhere; that man is not a single unit but consists of multiple entities, permeating the forests, rivers and air (all the views of the sky!). All this culminates in two scenes: the old woman laughing after she's spoken the Christian blessing, and Ivan searching, and finding death in Marichka's cold hands, reaching for him from the realm of shadows & ghosts, which is not a bad place - it's just not for the living. All this is beyond Christianity. But the last scenes are even beyond primitive ritual. The burial ceremony is entirely superfluous (not to the film!), as Ivan has found his own way of passing, in the loving arms of Marichka's cold otherworldly ghost.

***spoilers finished***

It may take a bit of effort to get into, but this is not art for the sake of it, ah-ah. This is grand, this is beauty; it's what what our eyes evolved for in the first place. Don't be an amoeba.
Fomand
Fomand
Ingmar Bergman once claimed that the childhood gift of a film projector inspired him to make movies. The feeling of magic in creating images in light upon the wall never left him; perhaps it revealed to him the perfect medium for living out dreams.

Watching "Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors" is like that moment of discovery: it makes us feel the same joy some have felt in discovering Bresson or Godard, the joy of finding out what film can do. It is understanding the director's joy in putting pictures together to tell a story (like a painter finding just the right colors to paint a myth). The movie, a sort of folk- Ukrainian "Romeo and Juliet," bursts with passion and physicality, chasing its protagonists through some of the most wild and beautiful landscapes ever caught on film. Yet the real romance here is between director Parajanov and the camera, which swoons and runs and bounds as ardently as any young lover, whether falling like a tree to the ground or spinning through a field or moping grief-stricken in a corner. Parajanov, like a honeymooning bridegroom, tries everything; he veers from silent-film subtitles to new-wave editing gimmicks to Russian iconography within seconds, and yet the tricks never feel anachronistic. From a torchlit search along a river to witchcraft in a lightning storm to the simple, painful clarity of the hero's eyes, the movie exudes a pagan wildness. (How he smuggled it past Soviet aesthetics is anybody's guess.)

This is a movie that makes you laugh not from comedy but from sheer pleasure; it is as warm, bold, tragic, profoundly silly, and above all human, as a Shakespeare romance. See it by any means necessary.
Gabar
Gabar
The first great film from the greatest director in post-war Soviet Union. The experience is almost like being strapped to a malfunctioning rollercoaster, as a relatively straightforward story - young man falls in love with neighbour; she dies; he mourns; remarries; still loves dead mate (Wuthering Heights anyone?) - is violently attacked by hurling camera movements that reveal the most vertiginous spaces, both exterior and interior; bizarre angles (eg from a falling tree); a restless mix of music from Kusturica-like horn blowers, shards of modernism and thrilling Romanticism; content that blends myth, dreams, legends, folk tales etc.; and editing that bewilders and disrupts rather than matches and connects. A brilliant recreation of a forgotten culture and times that was a dangerous two-fingers to totalitarianism.
Qwne
Qwne
This is a haunting film filled with deeply moving imagery and symbolism. It is a well known art-house and film student favorite and for many excellent reasons. It is beautifully filmed and accurately portrays Ukrainian-Hutsul society with all it's mythology, superstition and rich culture. Of interest is that it was released in it's native Ukrainian language during one of the Soviet Union's cultural thaws under Khruschev. Not many films were allowed to even be produced in Ukrainian during the Soviet regime. Definitely worth seeing.
Nahn
Nahn
this film once seen is unforgettable,from the opening shot i knew i was in for something special,i wasn't let down on that score. the characters seem to leap of the screen in affect the film is alive. romeo & juliet in the carpathians a love story of children as adults as the people really are children,swirling hand held camera,unnatural colours,beautiful chromatic photography to set the tone of despair, paradjanov uses every trick in the book &then some.wonderful music & a sense of the times these people lived,the customs,clothes,religous iconography all come together in a wonderful film.one of my all time favourites.from a master.
Unereel
Unereel
Thank god for this man. He could have given us this one film and still changed the medium twice as most filmmakers have done in a lifetime. It deserves to be studied by anyone working today in movies and looking for rich multilayered intuition. This man has centuries in him.

The story is deceptively simple; young man loves, loses, and has to scramble on with life. But the way it burrows into you and speaks now, even though it's from another time, well, the way it's done is from another world.

To Western viewers, it will seem quite literally like something from another world. It profoundly speaks to me because I was lucky that me and him share a part of that other world, the one closer to the steppe. The difference between worlds is simple; in the West, you had the luxury of painting and theater, and music melded into that with opera, so when cinema rolled around a few centuries later, there was already an established reservoir of ways to see and imagine. The first films were little more than filmed plays with the camera assuming the role of the audience, later renovated in France (partly) through the influence of impressionist painting.

Parajanov was Armenian, which is to say from that world that ages ago was swept by invaders from the steppe. There was no lofty art allowed in the centuries of Ottoman blight, nowhere in the empire. There was no Rennaisance. Not there and not where I write this from. Our painting was religious icons. Our theater was song and dance. The collective soul had to pour that way, which is why they still persist and resonate in these parts; in the work of Kazantzakis, Bregovic, Kusturica and others, also why Western-influenced makers like Angelopoulos or Ceylan speak far less to the common folk.

You have to appreciate the significance of this in terms of cinema. There was already an established Soviet tradition in film in those days, Parajanov was a student at the prestigious VGIK after all. But, he chose to go even beyond Dovzhenko, a teacher of his at VGIK, who framed his films, back when he was still allowed by censors, as poetic remembrance of ancient past.

The memory of it was not enough, it had to have soul of its own now, what in the Spanish-speaking world is called the duende. It had to be a song that cuts deep and rises from bloody earth.

But, this is the genius of Parajanov. So a memory that is sang and danced out by the camera, and because he is not constrained by a visual tradition, the world of the film is freeform and spontaneous waters, an absolute marvel to watch. But he doesn't just photograph the iconography of the dance from the outside, simple pageantry.

That iconography is vivid and immediate in itself, you don't need special keys. Austere suffering saints look down at suffering. The mourning fire that burns in him and has to go out by itself. A lamb is caressed the way his soul needs it. Songs as hearsay overlain on scenes of life.

That is all melody to the song, lyrical cadence in terms of images. We'd be lucky if most filmmakers saw that far, most just center on story or character and parse out what beats result. Parajanov does neither, in a similar way to his friend Tarkovsky.

He provides deeply felt illogical machinery of that world to swim into, remember this is a world where sorcery is believed and wards off a storm, and prayer manifests as a lout from the woods looking for sex, in other words, we are not mere spectators to a gaudy visual dance from faraway times, the film is made so that we feel the urges and pulls of the world dancing around us. He pulls fabric to film from the ether around the edges of someome experiencing a story, the same deeply felt air that a singer cannot put to words and responds to with a song.

Look for the amazing finale. The film is bookended by death, but it's death that none of the individual scenes reasonably explain, it can only maybe have allusive extra-logical sense in being pieced by you. It is something that specifically has meaning that you let go. The thing is that him confronting or being confronted at the tavern, is, in itself, knowing about the sorcerer and his wife, knowing at the same instant that his father's death was the result of a similarly veiled and bubbling causality, knowing all in once that the universe, the cosmic dance, is not random but has inexplicable agency.

An invisible axe is spunning and cutting the tethers.

The way Parajanov filmed has been taken up by many, sure enough, Malick included. But we just haven't found more eloquent solutions to narrative, not in Malick, not in Lynch. I'm not just waxing. On top of everything else, the way causalities are overlain here is as intricate as I've seen in a film.
Ishnjurus
Ishnjurus
I had no expectations going into SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS, mostly because I knew very little about it beforehand. What I can say now is that it was more interesting from an artistic point of view than the actual story it tells. The basic plot is about a boy, Ivanko, who falls in love with a girl, Marichko. However, fate conspires to keep them apart and a fateful turn of events sets Ivanko down a course that changes his life forever. The elements I liked about the film, and what makes it stand out, are the cinematography, use of color, costumes, and the occasionally poetic image. The camera-work was rather improvisatory and free-moving with lots of high-angle shots, often pointed at the sky. There was also a conscious choice in one sequence to film in black-and-white for narrative reasons, to visually depict the protagonist's emotional state. As for imagery, there were a few sequences which stood out. One early scene showed blood dripping over the lens as a way to show someone dying, transitioning respectively into red horses and some kind of red plant. There was also creative use of double exposure in a scene where the characters are overlaid onto religious iconography. All of this was engaging and unique in a way that the story wasn't. I have a feeling that more familiarity with Ukrainian culture and folklore would have made the story a little more accessible, but I don't really think that the story was entirely the point. In fact, the acting in the film really isn't that good, and the film often felt like a filmed stage play where the intended audience is already familiar with the character archetypes and tropes. It also doesn't help that the film is episodic, with awkward and occasionally jarring scene transitions. Overall, this film's value (to me, at least) lies in its images and music. I don't really see the average film-watcher taking the time to see this, but this could potentially be worth it for the more adventurous person.
spark
spark
*spoilers* Being a good ole malchik brought up in the prevailing culture of the Americas, this film seemed extraordinarily strange to me. At least, the village rituals and rites were appropriately foreign to me. I couldn't help but chuckle at these things that seemed almost surreal in my eyes. What I could deeply appreciate about this film is the astounding quality of cinematography, editing, and overall filmmaking. Parajanov used some of the most brilliantly disturbing effects I have ever seen in a film. Even through the language and culture barriers that seemed so overbearing, I was awestruck by the intensity of the movie's emotion, culminating in Ivan's death scene. Parajanov quite literally sent chills down my spine. He conveyed his narrative with a string of long, jerky, disjointedly surreal takes, and it sent my mind into regions heretofore unexplored. I recommend this movie to those of us who are feeling bored and lazy, not those in chipper moods. The bored ones will be energized with a newfound sense of awe, whereas the previously happy ones will be deeply disturbed.
Antuiserum
Antuiserum
Well, i don't really think this movie is the masterpiece most critics say it is, first of all because, according to me, you can hardly feel a sort of empathy towards the two main characters, their acting is quite poor and they always seem pretty distant, like if they were images more than characters. Moreover, the extreme beauty of some images, the camera "overwork" compared to the poverty of the acting and the lack of in-depth of the characters, makes the film look magnificent but also formalist, "manieriste" at the same time. Very interesting to watch, but most of the time emotionally dull and boring.. As a consequence, even the "maestria" of the camera get sometimes annoying.. (i'm not a native English-speaker... i wish i could tell it in better words..)
Hasirri
Hasirri
The first major movie by the Georgian-born Armenian director Sergei Paradjanov (he has made some movies before that few people have seen, and they are apparently in the conventional Soviet style). This is set in a village in Western Ukraine, in the forested Carphatian Mountains, among the Hutsul ethnic group. The movie has a great opening, as a man is killed by a falling tree over a snow-covered mountain, with a POV from the top of the tree. After that, you get Paradjanov, with its frantic mixture of ethnography, folklore, religion, odd camera movements, music, dance, color. Among all this, a sort of plot emerges, with the story of the crazy love between Ivan and Marichka, a couple belonging to feuding families, and of Ivan's life and marriage with another woman called Palagna after Marichka's tragic death. The era in which the action takes place is never determined, though one suspects it is some centuries ago. On the whole, I like Paradjanov's future feature The Color of Pomegranates better, which I think it's far more accomplished, but I this is very much well worth seeing to any cinema lover.
Wizer
Wizer
I first saw this film in 1973 when it was relatively new, and one of my most vivid memories of it was the director's marvelous use of rich colors. The colors were still pretty intense when I saw the film again in about 1979.

Then I saw it at the Portland Art Museum in about 2002, and I was disappointed to see how much the colors had faded. A friend who had not seen it before agreed that the photography was excellent overall, that the soundtrack of folk music was thrilling, and that the story was reminiscent of magical realism. But the colors had all gone drab.

I hope that whoever is doing digital restoration these days has this movie on their list.
Nettale
Nettale
Sergei Parajanov's Teni Zabytykh Predkov aka Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964) is original, surprising film, baroque in style and extraordinary fast. It uses elements of animation (blood streams turn into flying red horses), changes from B/W to color, and, is without a doubt experimental, ahead if its time cinema. You can practically feel dizziness from the rapid and unusual camera angles and you will be mesmerized by the colors of the traditional costumes, sounds of the folk songs, and by the sheer magic of Paradjanov's world. Made over 40 years ago it is still impressive. I can imagine how much ahead of time it was upon releasing.

The story about Guzul guy Ivan who loved a girl, lost her forever, suffered deeply, tried to forget her by marrying another woman, could not make that woman happy and was ultimately betrayed by her, is told in incredibly triumphant exuberant, and poetic way. The story of star-crossed lovers has been explored in art, literature, and cinema many times, and it is not surprising then the first half of the film sounds as rephrases of "Romeo and Juliette". But Shadows is interesting not only because of the story. Strange, but compelling mixture of Christianity and pagan rituals of Carpathian bewitched mountaineers, gives to the film special dimension. There are not many directors who would be able to create the ethnographic cinema which is at the same time gripping drama/legend/love story. Parajanov -- one of such directors and his film looks feels absolutely seamless, wholesome, and organic.

The DVD which I saw includes among the bonus features the documentary "Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Parajanov. The Islands". The 40 minutes long film explores the similarities in the work of two very different but outstanding artists who deeply loved and admired each other's Art. Tarkovsky said that Parajanov was absolutely free in the way he expressed himself in his films, nobody could compare with him in this freedom of expression, lust for life, and readiness to go to the end in order to make film according his vision. Parajanov, in turn, thought of Tarkovsky as genius from the very first feature film, Ivanovo Detstvo. The film included the interviews with both Artists' friends and figures of culture from the former USSR. The most valuable part of the film is the montage of the clips from the films of both directors. Seeing them next to each other, makes a stunning viewing. You can't help noticing how different yet close in their vision and expression they were. I highly recommend watching another bonus feature, Photo album in Memory of Sergey Paradjanov. Film and Collage. It shows the photographs from the different periods of the Artist's life, starting with him as a young boy, then - handsome artistic man, and finally resembling a very wise and very sad Santa Claus. The most interesting are the examples of Parajanov's collages, true works of art.
LiTTLe_NiGGa_in_THE_СribE
LiTTLe_NiGGa_in_THE_СribE
My Rating : 7/10

A simple story well-told about love and loss in the Hutsul culture of Western Ukraine. If you like elaborate costumes, folk music and dance and the simplicity of village life this is your ticket.

Otherworldly, visually unique, certainly for the arthouse film fan. 7/10 for me.
iSlate
iSlate
At the beginning of the 20-th century, in an Ukrainian village of the Carpathian Mountains, a young farmer loses bit by bit the reason after the accidental death of his beloved. A spectacular of images which still heightens the beauty of this poignant romantic tragedy.
Dalallador
Dalallador
Watching Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is like being placed into a society where film-making evolved down a very different path. Most of us have seen variations on this star-crossed lovers theme, but never in a setting like this. Uninformed by the conventions of Western European & American films, where story arc and images follow a predictable pattern and continuously reference common social themes, Ancestors immerses itself in the visual imagery of a very different culture - the rural Hutsuls of the Carpathian Mountains in the Ukraine. From the religious processions and services, through the brooding landscape and houses, to the piercing music, the film drops most of us into an alien culture almost as effectively as anything in science fiction. The Ukrainian language and Hutsul costumes and rituals only add to the mysterious ambiance. You have to see the wedding and funeral scenes several times to take in their visual richness and fully comprehend them. It's like no other film that you will ever see.
Akinozuru
Akinozuru
Paradzhanov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors has a lot going on. The story is not complex – a young Ukrainian peasant (Ivan) falls in love with the daughter of the man who murdered his father, and struggles in an unhappy marriage with different woman after his love dies tragically – but it is by no means easy to watch. The cinematographic strategies ignore the standards of Socialist Realism; the shooting techniques vary wildly with each scene, and the film actually transitions to black-and-white for a period. Shots come from below the actors, high in the air, spinning with dancers or sprinting with horses. The effect is very voyeuristic; we see lovers screened through a lattice of branches and leaves, and in one scene, what appears to be a first-person shot from the eyes of the Ivan going prone at the sight of a deer is muddled when he appears in the shot, making one suddenly very aware of the cameraman's presence. This documentary feel permeates the film – the elaborate costumes, the nearly constant presence of folk music, and the extreme attentiveness to details of ritual and labor have a completely immersive effect – one gets a real sense of the village culture. Paradzhanov also has a strange predilection for recurring motifs: three horn-players are shown repeatedly, a necklace is torn from a naked chest in two different scenes, Ivan's brother and lover are buried with identical birch crosses on different hilltops. These subtle but unmistakable recurrences, tied with the progression from Ivan's childhood to adulthood, keep one mentally tied to the story, despite Ivan's general muteness. In a creative opposition to the relative lack of dialogue, Paradzhanov frequently accompanies scenes with narrative descriptions from various participants, as if talking to a friend, after the fact. The film is not without flaws; some alienating aspects of Russian avant-garde cinema are present, at certain points it is unclear how or why scenes are occurring. Intertitles are sometimes present to demystify the action, but the film is, for lack of a better word, difficult to watch. However, the beauty and attention to detail, as well as the almost astonishing variety in thematic elements and camera-work, make this film impressive and worth one's time.
Xtani
Xtani
After I saw "Pomegranates" I looked very much forward to seeing this film. As others have commented, it is visually astounding - the entire work. It is also very foreign. The film takes place in the Ukraine and the language is Ukrainian, the action taken from folk stories occurs centuries before in a culture as foreign to the Western European mind as if it had been shot in the Far East with little attempt to explain it as it rolls along. I am a professional performing musician and one of the valuable lessons I've learned over the years was that the public can take only so much "foreigness" in an artistic work before the brain tunes it out - or shuts it down. The sound track was the culprit here where crying became wailing and bawling, singing became intoning at best or screeching and people tended to scream rather than talk with each other. It was a very loud track and became unpleasant and over-stressed with little interruption. The noise in itself was absolutely exhausting. True, these were unfamiliar times with unfamiliar people and unusual instruments and music, but as I mentioned above, the mind tunes them out, whether we like it or not.

Curtis Stotlar
Mightsinger
Mightsinger
I've seen comments from people saying that they didn't "get" this film, as if it's some incredibly complex thing to understand. But while there may be a lot of symbolism that went over my head, understanding the symbolism isn't key to understanding the film. Because what Shadows is more than anything else is a snapshot of Ukrainian Hutsul life at some point in time, executed in an immersive way that makes you feel like you are actually there. The exact time period, nor the timeline of the film, is not important. In fact the whole thing feels dreamlike, showing that although it's probably set in the 19th century it could really be set at any time.

The simplistic nature of the plot may deter some viewers. It's very cliché by today's standards, most of all at the point when Marichka drowns after looking at a star. The plot is also told in a way that breaks the "show, don't tell" rule, as we mostly find out about it through the explanations of other characters. It's slightly unrealistic to see random people constantly telling us the latest thing that's happened to Ivan! If plot was the focus of 'Shadows', this would matter more. But it's not. The rather barebones narrative is really used as an excuse to show different elements of the culture. Each event in the film is used to introduce us to some new aspect of the culture - the marriage scene for example is a fascinating spectacle. The acting is inconsistent. Sometimes it is adequate, other times it comes across as amateurish. Yet it doesn't matter all that much. The acting isn't the main focus of this film.

'Shadows' is a visual feast. Paradjanov experiments a lot with his shots. The camera moves wildly, immersing the viewer in a way I have never experienced in a film in my life. Exemplifying this is a scene in which young Ivan and Marichka run naked through the forest. The scene is filmed in such an empathetic way that you can imagine the life they had, at one with nature. Pretty much every shot is a work of art in this film, framed in a unique way that grants you a new perspective. All kinds of experimental camera angles are used and they have the effect of making the visuals unforgettable. The set design itself is incredibly detailed and purposeful. We have here, recorded on film, customs and traditions and clothes that would otherwise be forgotten.

The use of music is also unique. At first I found it strange that it didn't play by any of the rules I am used to for film soundtracks. At certain moments the intention is obvious, most of all the atmospheric piece played during the marriage scene. But the way Ukrainian folk melodies and sometimes just sounds are placed in the film at first glance seems interspersed and almost random. Maybe it is. Yet I don't see that as a problem, as it just draws you more into the experience. It reinforces this dreamlike, otherworldly quality that it has.

Upon thinking more about it, I could see some of the things Paradjanov was trying to say with this film. The characters are subjected to all kinds of tragedies but they manage to move on and find meaning through their traditions. It shows that traditions were important to the Hutsuls (and really any ethnic group in the world) because they allowed them to make sense of a short, brutal life. There were many hardships, but these customs were a source of stability and happiness. Take Ivan's funeral. Yes, his death was a sad event, but the ritual performed on his body allowed his friends and family closure, followed by joy and dancing. That's a universal message; it applies to all of us, not just this remote tribe. Isn't it why we have funerals, to find meaning in death and to find closure? Isn't it why we have our peculiar religious ceremonies, whether we're in Ukraine, the UK or elsewhere? It's amazing what this 50-year-old record of an isolated culture can show us about ourselves.

Is this film a masterpiece? I think so. It has flaws that are large enough to ruin any other film. Yet the creator's unique vision is not so much as dented by these flaws. That's a real testament to his poetic expressionist filmmaking.
Roru
Roru
I hate looking at dead human bodies. I hate funerals and especially lengthy funeral processions. I think when a person dies; the body should be disposed of as quickly and as inconspicuously as possible. This was the reason enough for me to dislike this movie. I do not appreciate its obsession with death and funeral rituals. I can imagine some viewers may find it worthy of watching, not me.

What else is in the movie? Sad, monotonous folk songs, folk dances, awful musical score are supposed to fit with that (unspecified) historical period; unnaturally looking costumes clumsily worn by the actors and extras; practically no plot to speak of, and no meaningful dialog; beautiful mountains and woods shot with irritatingly jerky moving camera; flashing colors from time to time for no reason, surprisingly inept, unprofessionally looking and talking actors.

*** for (mostly unsuccessful) effort
Winenama
Winenama
magic. search of sense. rituals. love story. sacrifice as beginning and heart of happiness far from earthy world. a fresco. a poem. basic testimony in which fragility is part of a way to define life. movie like a picture book, it is , in same time, fairy-tale and smell of childhood cook. but, in essence, only masterpiece of a director for who the political regime is more small in front with the light of profound truth. a truth as a tablecloth for Eastern Eve. crumbs of myth, soul of old story, force of tradition, delicate shadow of time. resistance to hypocrisy in a pure form. and web of nature as human skin. that is all. for East Europe - invitation to remember the roots. for the others - a letter. old, nice, with strange seductive letters of a ordinary hand.