Catch Soviet-era films from the Caucasus and beyond with London’s Armenian Institute

Catch Soviet-era films from the Caucasus and beyond with London’s Armenian Institute
Still from Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, dir. Sergei Parajanov (1965)

25 May 2021
Images: courtesy of Armenian Institute

London’s Armenian Institute and streaming platform Klassiki are launching a film festival celebrating Soviet-era films from the Caucasus and Russia.

Under Soviet Skies is running on Klassiki’s platform for free between 25 May and 1 June, combining Soviet-era Armenian, Georgian, and Russian films to celebrate a shared cinematic heritage, and explore the shaping of Soviet identity.

The programme spans four decades of Soviet cinema, and includes Sergei Parajanov’s 1965 Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a folk love story set in Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains. Also making an appearance is cult Armenian filmmaker Frunze Dovlatyan, whose mystic romantic drama Hello, It’s Me! screened at Cannes in 1966, and Henrik Malyan’s 1980 film A Piece of Sky, a tragicomedy that follows the romance between an outcast janitor and a sex worker.

Still from A Piece of Sky, dir. Henrik Malyan (1980)

Other movies include Blue Mountains by Georgian director Eldar Shengelaia, a satirical look at the futile, excessive bureaucracy of the Georgian SSR, and Burnt by the Sun: a 1994 Oscar-winner from Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov that offers a fresh look at the Russian Civil War through the story of a Red Army officer and his family.

Under Soviet Skies launches on Tuesday 25 May at 7pm GMT with a Q&A with Vigen Galstyan, head of the National Cinema Centre of Armenia’s Heritage Department, Tatevik Ayvazyan, Director of the Armenian Institute of London, and Justine Waddell, founder of Klassiki. On Thursday 27 May at 7pm GMT, a live panel discussion exploring identity in the Soviet space will also take place on the Armenian Institute’s Facebook page.

Discover the full festival programme here.

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