The directorial debut of one of the greatest masters of Ukrainian poetic cinema focuses on the life drama of the elderly villager Levko Serdiuk, a Ukrainian philosopher-peasant. Levko’s preoccupation with the well that provides everybody with water is ridiculed by his neighbors. His children are increasingly alienated from him and the values he espouses. Written by the poet Ivan Drach, the film has a striking monochromatic photography by Yuri Illienko and Volodymyr Davydov and is an indictment of dehumanizing influence of Soviet society on its citizens. The film is an early manifestation of what later became Illienko’s signature manner of narration - a story loaded with symbolism (water for purity, sand for death and perdition, apples for life and renewal), allegories, and reflection. It is a treat for lovers of cinematographic enigmas.
CAST & CREW
Director of Photography
Yuri Illienko, Volodymyr Davydov
Dmytro Miliutenko, Larysa Kadochnykova, Fedosia Lytvynenko, Nina Alisova, Dzhemma Firsova, Ivan Kostiuchenko, Yevhen Baliev, Yuri Mazhuha, Olena Kovalenko
Dovzhenko Film Studio
(1936-2010) Yuri Ilienko was a Soviet film director and screenwriter. He directed twelve films between 1965 and 2002. His 1970 film The White Bird Marked with Black was entered into the 7th Moscow IFF where it won the Golden Prize. Illienko was one of Ukraine's most influential filmmakers. His films were representing Ukraine and what was happening to it. His films were banned in the USSR for their suspected anti Soviet symbolism. Only in the recent years have his films been re released and open to the public. Yuri Illienko was a prolific writer who published a number of books and who compellingly spoke of the necessity for Ukraine to gain its own voice in film, to develop its national cinema as original, distinct, and uniquely recognizable.
A Spring for the Thirsty (1966), St. John’s Eve (1968), White Bird with a Black Mark (1971), In Spite of Everything (1972), To Dream and Live (1973), The Feast of Baked Potatoes (1976), A Swath of Uncut Wild Flowers (1978), Forest Song. The Mavka (1980), Legend of Princess Olha (1982), Straw Bells (1987), Swan Lake. The Zone (1990), Serhiy Paradzhanov. Score of Christ in C Major (1994), A Prayer for Hetman Mazepa (2002).