Concert: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

A multimedia performance combining cinema, music, and spoken word to explore the world of Sergei Parajanov, shedding light on his struggles with the Soviet regime.
Part of Kyiv Critics’ Week x De Balie

Featuring images of
Sergei Parajanov
Program maker
Stefan Malešević
Stefan Malešević
In collaboration with
Kyiv Critics’ Week

In this unique hybrid event a trio of musicians perform alongside the moving images of ‘Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors,’ the cinematic masterpiece by Sergei Parajanov, widely recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers in cinema history.

This event is presented as part of the KCW x De Balie collaboration, taking place from May 17th to May 21th. Under the banner of “Double Exposure: Ukraine in the 90s“, we will showcase films that were either shot in 90s Ukraine or depict this period of national awakening. Each screening will be followed by a conversation between one of the KCW curators and a Dutch film critic. See the full program and get your tickets for other events here.

Sergei Parajanov was born as Sarkis Hovsepi Parajaniants in Tbilisi to Armenian parentsm but later moved to Kyiv, where he created some of his best works and met the mother of his only child. He stated: “Everyone knows that I have three Motherlands. I was born in Georgia, worked in Ukraine and I’m going to die in Armenia.

Parajanov died at the onset of the 90s, so he didn’t live to see Ukraine independent, but left an indelible mark on its history and culture, both by shedding light on some of the most interesting elements of its folk culture and by defying the Soviet authorities who accused him of spreading Ukrainian nationalism to undermine the USSR. He was heavily persecuted and spent years in prison, which abruptly stopped his career and ruined the latter part of his life. 

Concert: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
This performance, marking the 100th anniversary of Parajanov’s birth, alternates music and texts that expand the view of his masterpiece Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and the unique circumstances under which the film was shot, the eccentric director Sergii Parajanov and the Ukrainian village Kryvorivnya with its peculiar customs, dialect, and music.

Music performers
Besides Maryana Golovchenko, Anna Antipova and Katherine Ziabliuk who perform live on stage, this performance features work of Olha Chernii, who edited the video footage and George Dumitriu, who was responsible for sound design.

The project was already presented at Berlin Jazz Fest and Delft Chamber Music Festival, where it was met with great enthousiasm. Reviews of previous renditions of this concert. Henning Bolte (independent journalist, reviewer):
“It revealed as a kind of deep ambient imbued by a touching fervor for the very cultural richness and identity – a kind of out-of-time vibration and flow…”

Rolf Thomas from Jazzthetik wrote: “..It was intimate and calm, but often also shrill and archaic music, which, together with the excerpts from the film of the same name by director Sergii Parajanov, created a peculiar pulling undertow.”

After the event our visitors will be served a complimentary selection of traditional Ukrainian snacks, hand-made, prepared and served by Uliana Bun and her husband. Uliana Bun is a professional chef specializing in modern Ukrainian cuisine, who strives to bring a fresh perspective to traditional dishes. She was born and raised in the Carpathian Mountains, where the Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors where shot and take place.

Photographs by: Melle Meivogel

KCW x De Balie collaboration was made possible with the financial contributions of Steunfonds Oekraïense makersDutch Foundation for Literature and Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of The Netherlands.


Maryana Golovchenkovoice, effects, traditional instruments
photo © Patrick Thompson
Anna Antipovaviolin, electronics
photo © Martina Novak
Katherine Ziabliukpiano