Reviews of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
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Very different than the other movies I’ve seen by him in that: the camera moves! And it moves almost hyperactively. It took me a while to get used to this change. Also: this is an actual movie… in that things HAPPEN and actors actually portray the things happening! Whereas in the other movies of his I’ve seen, it’s mostly about set design and people standing around in weird unnatural poses with props (I mean that in a good way)
As for the actual worth of the movie, I’m not sure. I think it’s beautiful, but it’s got weaknesses. Most notably, the camera movement is both its strength and the weakness. It really works to make the movie unique and beautiful, yet sometimes I feel it’s too much and does not serve the movie. It merely seems flashy. Another thing is that this movie has loads of symbolism (as does all his other movies)… but in this case the symbolism actually feels graspable, and thus, a little too obvious at times. Like when he bites into the apple after the scene in which he supposedly falls for the lady.
All of this doesn’t matter though because it doesn’t diminish the greatness of the movie… it’s beauty and breadth and force is mainly visual and sound. I loved the music used throughout.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Sergei Parajanov’s first masterpiece “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” ranks as one of the world’s most extraordinary cinematic feasts, featuring almost impossible camera angles, hallucinatory travellings and striking colors that altogether bend to one of 20th century’s great artistic visions, completed in his 1968 masterpiece “The Colour of Pomegranates” and sadly neglected (first by Soviet authorities and later by time). Sergei Parajanov should be celebrated as one of the few founders of a whole new cinematic language (others would certainly be Antonioni, Ozu, Bresson or Tarkovsky), and his important 1964 work is a true reminder of what the purpose of art should be, a quest for meaning and beauty. Parajanov, who’s work is deeply rooted in its own culture finds significance in human tragedy while accompanying the orphaned protagonist Ivan, and achieves the exceptional by transforming a quintessentially Carpathian story into an universal and in its scale Shakespearian one.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
One of the most haunting and incredible experiences I’ve ever had in a theater, this film burned a permanent wound in my mind after a single viewing. I saw it on a decaying 16mm print, and didn’t see it again for two years, yet I still remembered every frame. I still only have a ripped VHS copy, significantly lacking color and image detail, but somehow the power of this film still speaks to me. Parajanov must get his due as one of the world’s greatest filmmakers. Hopefully this site will help introduce him to a whole new audience. I’d like to see Ashik Karib or The Legend of Suram Fortress in the future (here’s to hoping)! Thanks for keeping cinema alive guys!