Ashik Kerib | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The latest film of Sergei Paradjanov (1988), a loose adaptation of a story by Mikhail Lermontov about a Turkish minstrel and maiden, is a relatively minor work with much personal and autobiographical significance. But minor Paradjanov qualifies as something very close to major from most other filmmakers. The style is somewhat akin to the frontal tableaux vivants of The Color of Pomegranates with the addition of some camera movement, dialogue, and offscreen narration; the Azerbaijani dialogue and the subtitled Georgian narration tell the story proper, and the limitation of the visuals in this case is that they tend to be more illustrative than is usual with Paradianov. But even if Ashik Kerib were only a collection of beautiful shots (and it is clearly more than that), they would still be some of the most beautiful shots to be found in contemporary Soviet cinema--richly colored, mysterious, and magical. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, October 13, 6:00, and Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15, 4:00, 443-3737)

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