Thursday, May 3, 2012
SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS
Watched tonight the Soviet-era Ukrainian film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965), which follows the life of tragic Carpathian farmer Ivan, who is unable to break from the depression and pain of his Romeo-and-Juliet love affair, after his girl Marichka drowns while he is working with the sheep herds. I wish my mother was here to answer questions raised in the movie about the culture and customs of the the Hutzul people, highlanders whose music sounds a lot like a mix of Scottish and Austrian. My mother gave me several pieces of Hutzul pottery and carvings, and she loved the area, having camped and hiked in them many times, she said. Although the cinematography is often rough, there are extremely beautiful scenes, especially of the clothing. Clearly life is hard in the mountains, but there seems also to be a somewhat straightforward approach to life. The movie seems to mix in mythology, culture, and a bit of black magic. No doubt I misunderstood many of the messages, but it was interesting to watch what may be my first Ukrainian film.