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Thursday, 11 October 2007

Salt for Svaneti[a], Part III (silent film)

video

Parts I & II above.

I found this gem from 1930, filmed by Mikheil Kalatozov, in the USA on VHS; friends brought it here to Georgia for me. Had it transferred to DVD here. The VHS copy states that only the sound, which is a modern addition to what was originally a silent film, is copyright. So I have removed the sound and am making this nearly hour-long film available to watch in 3 parts on the blog. It's from Ushguli, Europe's highest village; Svan friends of mine say that its depiction of Svan culture as it was then is quite accurate. There's a strong communist propaganda element to the film, of course, as should be expected from a film of its time period. And it's obviously an early film as far as genre goes - how much is documentary, how much drama? The baby death must be staged, along with the avalanche scenes; the horse's death may not be. The funeral itself is likely real, and the terrible July blizzard is a fact, remembered by people I knew.

This is the village to which I will be moving in November 2007 to teach English, learn Svan and really start investigating the Svan people's culture. So, enjoy the first film of Ushguli. (Each part is about 75 MB in size, at least as I uploaded it... some patience may be needed.)

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