Around The World In 100 Films – Ukraine

List Item: Watch films from 100 different nations
Progress: 43/100

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 582/1007
Title: Tini zabutykh predkiv (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors)
Director: Sergei Parajanov
Year: 1965
Country: Ukraine (Former USSR)

I know that this is the third film from the USSR that I have linked to a different country for the sake of my Movies from 100 Nations thing. Bit of a cheat really. Then again UNESCO refer to this film as being Ukrainian so who am I to argue?

Honestly, this film is very much a Ukrainian film other than the Tblisi-born director. The language is Ukrainian, it’s set in Ukraine, a seemingly large majority of the cast and crew are from Ukraine and it is filmed in Ukraine. So yes, this is very much a Ukrainian affair.

As with the other Sergei Parajanov film that I have seen (Sayat-Nova) the cinematic language on offer in Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors feels incredibly alien. This is where the problem is for me – in between horn blares and mobile camerawork there were time where I found it hard to hard to make head or tails of the film. In that way it was also rather similar to Red Psalm

The basic storyline (thanks Wikipedia) is interesting enough; especially that ending where Ivan is killed by the phantom of his lost love as conjured by a sorcerer (not the weirdest sentence I’ve written today).  However, even with Wikipedia and subtitles this was hard to follow. Now pair this up with camerawork that made me feel a bit seasick and those blasted horns… well let’s just say I didn’t like this film much at all.

That’s the way it goes with these lists, you can’t get a home run every time.


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