Capturing the Marvelous: Ukrainian Poetic Cinema

The Eve of St. John

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The Eve of St. John
Vechir Na Ivana Kupala | Yuri Illienko, 1968
USSR | 71 minutes

September 8 show has been moved to the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

Illienko followed his controversial Spring for the Thirsty with this adaptation of a Gogol story that nevertheless still allowed his imagination free reign. A simple farmhand, Petro has his heart set on marrying the beautiful Pidorka, but her strict father is looking for a more advantageous match. A mysterious stranger, Basavriuk, makes Petro an odd offer: pick a flower that only blooms once a year, on the eve of St. John’s Day, and in return he’ll give Petro a mound of gold. But Basavriuk is really Satan himself, and Petro soon becomes a pawn in his deadly plans. Filled with what by then was Illienko’s characteristically remarkable imagery (a bleeding loaf a bread, weeping icons of the Virgin), The Eve of St. John was not surprisingly banned by the authorities and even now, years after the ban was lifted, is rarely screened.

Series: Capturing the Marvelous: Ukrainian Poetic Cinema

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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