Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Tini zabutykh predkiv) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Tini zabutykh predkiv) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2008
½ May 18, 2013
People should look at this movie, I mean really look at it , because there isn't a shot in this Russian folk tale that isn't bursting with life, hallucinatory color, & imagination
November 17, 2010
the camera hurtles through the trees, following the simple life of ukranian villager ivan, who loses the love of his life to a tragic editing accident that has her falling off a cliff in one shot, and drowning in a waterfall in the next. the sound and production design, use of color, and dexterity of the camera work is amazing to watch - one scene looks as though there must have been a handheld camera that runs onto a crane, and then off again. other scenes appear to been shot on a giant turntable, spinning the sets around the actors. another sequence in which ivan is visited by a ghost is creepy and unsettling due to its innovative editing techniques. an inspiring work.
½ June 18, 2010
Weird, russian, read the description, you'll have the plot mostly figured out, except for the part where Ivan marries some other, less attractive woman, then some weird sorcery happens.
December 6, 2008
A gem of cinematic creativity and heart-wrenching romantic color. Movement in the midst of the reality of life's pain and the tragedy of love destroyed by fate.

An amazing work.
October 29, 2008
Everything about this movie just offended my senses... in a way it was interesting, and as an allegorical tale about the USSR I enjoy it, but the acting and camera work were terrible... I felt like I was watching a B movie that I couldn't laugh openly at.
August 12, 2008
an exhibition of russian culture and its old way of life in a Shakespearian-esque tale carried by a memorable visual style. its a shame this director hasn't gotten more recognition. looking forward to seeing more of his work.
½ July 3, 2008
I've never seen a film shot quite like this. The camera is always finding dramatic angles, circling and whipping around suddenly to locate a new subject. The muted color palette is quite striking. The editing is quick and dynamic. As for the story, it's not especially complex or original: a tragic love story, shades of "Romeo and Juliet". But it is moving, and the glimpses of folk culture and religious imagery are fascinating.
October 13, 2007
Basically a Carpathian Romeo & Juliet in which Romeo lives on after his lover's death, mixed with sorcery and folklore. The film captures some of the most stunning images I've seen in its own incredibly raw and dizzying ways. The camerawork is so dazzling and outlandish that it's as if Parajanov taught the camera how to fly. The beautiful landscapes of the Carpathian mountains are used to full effect. Some sections of the film can even be described as avant garde. The film portrays the colorful Hutsul culture with its observations on Carpathian everyday life, cultural rituals, and its abundant use of folk music.
October 15, 2007
Parajanov's "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" is an intoxicating display of sights and sounds. Although the plot is simple but affective, it supports the rushing, lyrical camera movements which take the viewer through a barrage of color (often streaking and spiraling), dissociative viewpoints, and very interesting nature and interior perspectives. It is hard to describe the feelings this film conjures, but they are best described as ecstatic or rapturous: a complete Gesamtkunstwerk experience.
September 23, 2007
This was utterly fascinating. It's impossible to capture in a paragraph, but for me, this is the logical continuation of what Eisenstein was doing in the color sequences of Ivan the Terrible. I'm not referring to the propagandist elements, but rather the celebration of culture, costume and music. As is often the case with my favorite films, Parajanov takes a simple story (boy meets girl, loses her, suffers), but presents it with such life that it becomes a singular, non-comparable experience. Although it is forty years old and presumably made under strict conditions, his camera work and editing is constantly inventive. Someone on IMDB described it as a roller coaster. This is true, but not in the sense that a summer blockbuster is designed as "a thrill ride". There's a constant sense that he can pull the rug out from under your feet. There's a real sense of excitement here because, even for the most jaded viewer, there's something fresh. This isn't some art house relic. This is vital cinema that deserves a much wider audience.

FYI- This was screened in a supposedly new print as part of a Kino 30th anniversary retrospective. The first half remains heavily damaged, but as it progresses (mostly after the b/w portion), it looked cleaner. The detail levels were generally good, but, the the color looked faded in the early scenes.
April 24, 2016
The Soviets suppressed the works of Sergei Paradjanov because they seemed to promote religious belief and local culture (and therefore separatism). However, in doing so, they effectively quashed a great talent. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors tells a simple story of an impossible love between a boy and a girl from two fighting families in the 19th century, but it is endlessly inventive in its visual choices and increasingly bizarre in its plot, encompassing not just Christianity but earlier pagan beliefs. Somehow, Paradjanov places his camera (handled by cinematographer Yuri Ilyenko) in fire and under water, shooting out at Ivan, the hero of the story. He includes large dramatic close-ups of mustachioed faces (of the Eastern European variety) and beautiful long-shots that make landscapes look like exquisitely patterned tapestries (as when he shoots a hillside of tree stumps, with each stump on fire). Ivan's story is a sad one, as his first true love drowns and he descends into loneliness and alcoholism (and the film fades from brilliant color to B&W), only recovering when he meets earthy Palagna and marries her. But his steadfast devotion to his dead lover leads his new marriage into despair and Palagna turns to sorcery. Ivan's death is celebrated with a Ukrainian ritual, as are all the other major events of the film, apparently drawn from Paradjanov's knowledge of the Hutsul people of the Carpathian Mountains. But trying to explain this film in words is an impossible challenge, you need to see this lofty peak of world cinema yourself.
October 16, 2015
I had no expectations going into SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS, mostly because I knew very little about it beforehand. What I can say now is that it was more interesting from an artistic point of view than the actual story it tells. The basic plot is about a boy, Ivanko, who falls in love with a girl, Marichko. However, fate conspires to keep them apart and a fateful turn of events sets Ivanko down a course that changes his life forever. The elements I liked about the film, and what makes it stand out, are the cinematography, use of color, costumes, and the occasionally poetic image. The camera-work was rather improvisatory and free-moving with lots of high-angle shots, often pointed at the sky. There was also a conscious choice in one sequence to film in black-and-white for narrative reasons, to visually depict the protagonist's emotional state. As for imagery, there were a few sequences which stood out. One early scene showed blood dripping over the lens as a way to show someone dying, transitioning respectively into red horses and some kind of red plant. There was also creative use of double exposure in a scene where the characters are overlaid onto religious iconography. All of this was engaging and unique in a way that the story wasn't. I have a feeling that more familiarity with Ukrainian culture and folklore would have made the story a little more accessible, but I don't really think that the story was entirely the point. In fact, the acting in the film really isn't that good, and the film often felt like a filmed stage play where the intended audience is already familiar with the character archetypes and tropes. It also doesn't help that the film is episodic, with awkward and occasionally jarring scene transitions. Overall, this film's value (to me, at least) lies in its images and music. I don't really see the average film-watcher taking the time to see this, but this could potentially be worth it for the more adventurous person.
½ March 2, 2015
Parajanov first film post imposed social realism is a little treat and a beautiful exploration of cinema by a master director who became a game changer with this tale of a contradicted love doomed from the start but beautifully shot and endlessly compelling. The film is a feast of colors, traditional costumes and depiction of the rural Carpathian world. This sort of Romeo &Juliet story is wonderfully shot and some of the sequences are absolutely breathtaking. This film is a departure from the classical narrative linear form although it is fairly easy to understand and develops chronologically. Some people may be disturbed or annoyed by some of the visual and narrative style but overall it's a film that deserves to be seen as an experience for the senses. Great film.
October 13, 2014
Multiple views are required for this picture.
½ October 12, 2014
Luminous, breath-taking visuals incomparable to almost anything else in cinema.
November 29, 2013
Sad and surreal love story...
½ May 18, 2013
People should look at this movie, I mean really look at it , because there isn't a shot in this Russian folk tale that isn't bursting with life, hallucinatory color, & imagination
January 7, 2013
Unique and memorable.
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