Close Up

8 March - 6 April 2019: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors


Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
Sergei Parajanov, 1964, 97 min
Ukrainian with English subtitles
Introduced by James Norton

"Cascades of color, folkloric elements, fantastically stylized images of landscape, and bold editing of sound and image all frame Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, which is regarded as a turning point in Parajanov’s career and which established his reputation internationally. The film revolves around Ivan und Marishka, two young inhabitants of a primitive mountain villages in the Carpathians whose love is doomed due to the animosity between their families. A poetic medley of experiences of death, an evocation of heathen myths and sagas, and an entreaty to folkloric traditions in equal measure, the Ukrainian production ended up in the sights of the Soviet censorship authorities, who accused the director of both formalism and nationalism and heavily restricted his ability to make films from then on, actually banning him from doing so at times." – Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art

Kiev Frescoes
Sergei Parajanov, 1966, 15 min

What was supposed to become a feature-length film about the aftermath of WWII in contemporary Kiev, turned into a short collage, based on the remaining footage after all negatives were destroyed by the authorities. These tests however clearly indicate a radical stylistic shift from his prior and widely celebrated Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.

2K DCP derived from a 4K digitisation of the original 35mm film negatives, held at the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine. The film was restored on behalf of the Ukrainian State Film Agency in 2015 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its premiere.

Kiev Frescoes, restoration produced by Daniel Bird in association with the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre and Fixafilm Poland.

Part of our Close-Up on Sergei Parajanov