i don’t know whether you guys remember ‘shadows of forgotten ancestors’ that i had written about in my post on our pune trip. sergei paradzanov was the director and i loved the film so much that i was very excited that i got to see this two movie dvd yesterday with his last two films. both of these were as usual armenian/ georgian folk tales that were told through in unusually theatrical way. lavishly staged they told stories of war, betrayal and love in a completely original way. myths and histories were interwoven through a simple tale told through surreal episodes, amazing visuals, exotic folk music and dream like sets.
the storylines: ‘the legend of suram forteress’ was about the impossible-to-build surami fortress in
‘ashik kerib’- dedicated to andrei tarkovsky- the movie follows the travails of a poor minstrel who has left his beloved waiting for him for a thousand days and a thousand nights, hoping to earn enough money so that he can marry her. on his travels he suffers many injustices and is imprisoned and even once murdered until a white saint on a white horse sends him back home.
of the two ‘ashik kerib’ was truly amazing. to me it seemed that through the character and story of ashik kerib pardzanov was referring to his own imprisonment in siberia by the soviet government for 15 years under charges of homosexuality and/or defying the official party line.
perhaps these were the chains that were around ashiks chest that did not allow him to play for the sultan in his durbar. was the old man who handed ashik his new lute supposed to be tarkovsky? was the dove offered to the camera at the end an offering to him?
would such films ever be made again with the dissolution of state funding for cinema as the ‘market’ never will venture this far into the experimental? is real art cinema then dead?