Capturing the Marvelous: Ukrainian Poetic Cinema

Spring for the Thirsty

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Spring for the Thirsty
Krynytsia Dlia Sprahlykh | Yuri Illienko, 1965
USSR | 90 minutes

September 7 show has been moved to the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

Filmed just after the principal photography was completed on Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, the directorial debut of master cinematographer Yuri Illienko is surely one of the most abstract films ever made within the Soviet Union. Based on a screenplay by dissident writer Ivan Drach, the story (such as it is) focuses on an old man living alone in a small house in the desert. For years his role has been to guard a well that is the water source for the local peasants, but now he is simply waiting to die. His memories are both an escape from his daily reality as well as a kind of prison, as they distance him from those around him. Illienko pushes the limits of black-and-white cinematography, creating stark yet unforgettable images that are juxtaposed against an eerie minimalist soundtrack. A remarkable film for any period, Spring for the Thirsty was made just as the last vestiges of the cultural thaw that began after the death of Stalin were being eliminated, making its appearance even more miraculous.

Series: Capturing the Marvelous: Ukrainian Poetic Cinema

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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