In Sergei Parajanov’s bleak, fatalistic tale, the window of grace provided for children to be children in post-war Russia is always too brief.
Steve Leftridge: Wild Horses of Fire! Where do we start with a film so stuffed with narrative, cultural, symbolic, and medulla-oblongata-curving technique? Perhaps we should start with a reminder that director Sergei Parajanov, a giant of Soviet cinema, did some serious time in labor camps for making Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors—and other pictures like it—due to his subversion of the old Soviet Union’s mandate that all art should fit neatly into the category of socialist realism. (This imprisonment happened despite worldwide protests from other filmmakers.) Once the ‘80s and Glasnost rolled around, Parajanov was free, but he didn’t live much longer, broken as he was by a lifetime of persecution. Now, however, he’s honored with statues and his own museum in Russia. They even named an asteroid after him.