Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chat: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Tracy:  I'm online and grading annotated bibliographies, and will be FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. Or at least the next couple of hours if you want to chat that crap movie! :)
Natalie:  Ha! Happy to rescue you from grading --especially if it will take the rest of your life :)

Tracy:  Yay! Sadly, I can barely remember the title. Was it The Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors? The Ancestors of Our Forgotten Shadows? Forgetting Our Ancestral Shadows?

Natalie :  Um . . . . . quickly checks Netflix . . . Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.

Tracy:  Right. So I guess this is in the vein of The Cow in which we need to see it because it chronicles this marginalized community, but my God, it was so aesthetically unpleasant.

Natalie:  Good God. The Cow and this one would make a suicide-inducing double feature. Yeah, marginalized community and whatnot, but I feel like the film made the culture stranger than it is with all of the extremely harsh sounds--not just the music--and the bizarre choices in color.

Tracy:  Yes! And the way it was filmed, especially in those early market scenes, with the garishly dressed and howling characters rushing into the camera. Maybe it was meant to replicate the child's confusion, but the child shouldn't be that confused, right? He grew up there! And I just could not take the constant droning folk dirges. I think the story was fine, if predictable and melodramatic, but put in that context, I couldn't even enjoy it.

Natalie:  Right! If the goal is to expose viewers to a culture that's being killed off, don't put the audience off immediately. The child didn't even seem that confused! The constant droning gave me a headache for like a week. And that can't be what the culture is like--they don't play music constantly. It seems like it would have been more effective for it to be almost silent--since they lived in a forest versus a city--and have some music pop up for emphasis. The story was fine; I just wish more attention had been paid to the actual story than making it more "artistic" with black&white portions, color saturated portions, bizarre over-acting, etc.

Tracy:  It's true. And that sorcery angle came out of nowhere. Are we supposed to think that magic is only possible in this "magical" community (insulting), or were we watching a fantasy movie the whole time (badly done)? I also didn't appreciate that one woman is some angle who saves sheep, and one woman is this fallen vixen. I could believe that an unhappy marriage made her like that, but the movie couldn't have been less interested in exploring the dynamics of being married to someone who's in love with a dead girl. I'm not sure it's something that I "must" see before I die.
 Sent at 9:23 AM on Thursday
 me:  I read the wikipedia summary before I watched so I expected the sorcery angle--which made it SUPER disappointing when it finally did pop up. But, yeah, make the story and characters more complicated, forget or enhance the magical aspect, and give us something to actually appreciate about the culture. Definitely not something I needed to see before I die.

Tracy:  I also didn't really understand the title. Bad translation? Maybe. But ugh. I say boot it. I would even keep The Cow over this.

 Natalie:  Is it to do with her ghost? Or is there something about all of the ghosts of the many people who die, maybe? In any case, not explained in the film. I agree with booting it AND The Cow.

Tracy:  Ah. Maybe so. Or maybe his father? But either way, I wish they had been a little MORE forgotten. In a better world, we wouldn't have had to watch this or The Cow. So next up is a tribute to Bardot's ass? I haven't watched it yet, but it's here. Maybe this afternoon or on ze plane.

Natalie:  Ha! Completely Forgotten Shadows of Ancestors, in which there is no film at all. Yep. Bardot's ass. Fair warning if you watch it on ze plane--it's just a naked Bardot talking to a dude in bed for the first five minutes. I still have to see if the replacement disc actually plays.

Tracy:  Hah! Good to know! Although maybe nobody will try to talk to me if they think I'm watching porn on the plane. 

 Natalie:  Ha! Unless you're next to a creepy dude like I was when I watched Somewhere on a plane. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964)

Apologies for the unscheduled break! Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is the first major film of Sergei Parajanov (based on a Ukrainian novel by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky) and was apparently acclaimed for costume, color, and such a detailed look into the Ukrainian Hutsul culture. His refusal to change the film to a then-conventional socialist-realist style earned him a place on the Soviet blacklist.

I remain wary.