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

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Tini zabutykh predkiv) Reviews

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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.
½ August 26, 2009
A cold film? Why, yes, but easily forgivable when you experience what a stylistic tour-de-force Sergei Parajanov has woven.
December 10, 2011
Recommended by Eric, magnolia11883.
½ July 27, 2011
Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov always fought for his armernian heritage against the Soviet-Russia's cultural repression. But he also fought for other dying culture's in other soviet regions. Parajanov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors takes place in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine, we follow the life of the Hutsuls. This picture is the story about the young man named Ivan who falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of the man who killed his father. We can see that they are ment to be together, but a twist of fate happens when Marichka falls from a cliff into the water and dies. After a hard black and white winter, Ivan decides that the life must go on, and goes ahead and marrying the first women that he shows some tiny interest for, named Palagna. But his love for Marichka remains strong, that he forget to pay atention to his present wife. And then Palagna falls in love with an evil sorcerer, which doesn't bring any good for anyone.

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a beautiful looking film, beautiful cinematography, alot of beautiful colors and landspaces. The story itself isn't that original. I loved the first part of the film where we see two people who are ment to be together. The second part of the film is kind of slow and not so colorful. But I still recommend it, for it's beutiful use of color and culture. Thumbs up.
September 19, 2010
I feel like the only thing I really took away from the movie was scarf envy.
April 1, 2011
Wonderful film! Very realistic and harsh. Second half was better for me, I loved a number of stills in this. The Sorcerer sequence is incredible! Also many others! Excellent use of color, and amazing costumes. Sergei Parajanov is an artist!
March 1, 2011
Dark Ukrainian fairytale. Great musical score and the costumes and colours are a feast for the eyes. Very poetically filmed and visually stimulating.
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.
October 3, 2010
I don't know what the hell this is but I fuckin love it.
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.
½ March 22, 2010
Amazing movie, depicts the wide Slavic soul so accurately, loved many integrative auditory metaphors, the whole concept of the vanity of life seasoned with a tragic love story. Highly recommended!
½ March 1, 2010
A striking folk tale of doomed love in "a God-forsaken Carpathian region", this is my first Parajanov film, but it won't be the last. From a storytelling standpoint, it's sometimes obscure (and, like a number of Russian films, slow-moving), but it's filled with examples of Parajanov's visual poetry. From elaborate camera tricks (one early shot is from the POV of a falling tree) to the use of color, freeze-framing, and symbolism, the film is a visual feast. The authentic Carpathian music adds to the strange, almost dream-like atmosphere. The characters are drawn essentially as archetypes, giving the actors little scope, but they all do creditably well, particularly the luminously beautiful Larisa Kadochnikova, who makes for a most effective star-crossed lover. Ivan Mikolajchuk isn't bad as the lovelorn hero, either. The themes of love and fate are effectively utilized throughout, as the story takes on a tragic sense of inevitability. Parajanov's brilliant eye and imagination take an old Ukrainian tale and bring it to strange, eerie, but effective life.
½ February 2, 2010
Paradjanov just has such an eye for what's beautiful. While the plot may have been a bit tedious it's more than made up for by great camera work, beautiful mise-en-scene, and not to mention those black and white scenes which stole the show.
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