Ukrainian (Film) History 101: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors + Kyiv Frescoes

Parajanov’s masterpiece based on Kotsiubynsky’s book and inspired by the foklore of the Hutsul people.

Sergey Parajanov
Running time
Country of origin
Soviet Union
Довженко-Центр / Dovzhenko Centre
100% of the ticket sales are forwarded to the largest Ukrainian film archive – Dovzhenko Centre in Kyiv, that is struggling to keep its doors open during the invasion.

An Armenian director born in Georgia went Ukraine to shoot a film inspired by the folklore of Hutsuls – an ethnic minority in Ukraine. Sergei Parajanov was a paragon of diversity and cultural exchange inside the vast Soviet Union.

Made under the auspices of the Dovzhenko Film Studios, the film and its author received praise from the regime, for the poetic quality and philosophical depth Parajanov achieved. The immense strength of a wild, but consistent shooting style that turned a typical story of “Romeo and Juliet” into an epic visceral celebration of senses is still considered by many to be a pinnacle of filmmaking in its purest form.

A few years after this release, however, Parajanov became a victim of the dark side of the Soviet regime – enduring opression, censorship and incarceration based on false accusations. Parajanov spent years in prison for his alleged “homosexual activities”, which was illegal in Soviet Union at the time, and saw most of his films banned from distribution or production, despite constant cries for his release from fellow filmmakers such as Fellini, Coppola, Godard and Tarkovsky.

We open the evening with remnants of one such project – Kyiv Frescoes, which present a collage created from test shootings for a film dealing with the consequences of WWII in Kyiv. Kyiv Frescoes represents a radical shift in style and serves as a bridge between the Shadows and The Color of Pomegranates, his most widely celebrated film.

Full program

1st June Zvenigora
7th June Shadows of Forgotten
Ancestors + Kyiv Frescoes

14th June Asthenic Syndrome
21st June Oxygen Starvation

All screenings begin at 19:30.

Click on a film title for more information and separate tickets.

Click here for the description of the whole program and the discounted combi-ticket of 24,08€.