Close Up

5 January 2018: Man Follows Birds


Man Follows Birds

Ali Khamraev
1975 | 87 min | Colour | 35mm
Introduced by Herb Shellenberger 

Perhaps Khamraev’s masterpiece, Man Follows Birds is a baroque coming-of-age tale set in medieval Uzbekistan. The film follows the young and idealistic Farukh as he comforts his alcoholic father, has visions of his deceased mother and dreams of love with the beautiful Amandyra. Deeply poetic visuals are enhanced by the work of master Ukrainian cinematographer Yuriy Klimenko, who would go on to shoot some of the most visually-engaging films in Soviet and Russian cinema like Parajanov’s Legend of Suram Fortress, Sergey Solovyov’s Black Rose Is an Emblem of Sorrow, Red Rose Is an Emblem of Love and Aleksey German’s Hard to Be a God. Khamraev’s masterful hand guides Farukh and his companions on an utterly unique road film poignantly punctuated by Rumil Vildanov’s score, at turns lushly orchestral in the Morricone register, and in other spots containing only sparse synthesizer flourishes. The journey ends up bringing Farukh back to where he started, his loss of innocence coming at the expense of a great adventure.

Part of our programme on Ali Khamraev