Ukraine: Forgotten Ancestors

 Soviet film director Sergei Parajanov‘s masterful first feature, Shadows Of Our Forgotten Ancestors (1965), has been described as a Ukrainian masterpiece. It is an adaptation of Mikhaylo Kotsyubinsky’s 1912 novel of the same name. Kotsiubynsky was a Ukrainian modernist who developed a sophisticated form of ethnographic realism. In this film, Parajanov poetically portrays the traditional life of the Hutsul people and the natural environment of the Carpathian Mountains in Western Ukraine.

Ivan falls in love with Marichka, who is the daughter of the man who killed his father. While Ivan is away from their village, Marichka drowns trying to rescue a lost lamb. Ivan is inconsolable over the loss but eventually meets Palahna whom he marries. Ivan remains obsessed with Marichka and the marriage fails. Palahna is unfaithful with a local molfar (magician) named Yurko,. Yurko mortally wounds Ivan in a fight. Ivan goes out into the forest, sees the spirit of Marichka, dies, and finally, he is given a traditional Hutsul burial.