Shades of Forgotten Ancestors (1964)

This Ukrainian film strikes us a strange now – I wonder how it struck Soviet audiences in the mid 60s? A slightly surreal take on what appears to be a Ukrainian folktale, it appears to offer a window into 19th Century peasant Ukrainian life. While it has some interesting stylistic moments, overall it seems dated. However in the Stalinist USSR of the 60s it would have appeared dangerously challenging – alluding to a separate Ukrainian identity, showing the centrality of religious ritual and superstition and being about peasant landowners – one can only wonder what the authorities thought of it.  A piece of history and worthy for that alone.

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~ by Doug Newdick on July 19, 2008.

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