Swan Lake – The Zone

Film
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Written by the Georgian director Sergo Paradjanov while imprisoned by the Soviet authorities between 1974 and 1977 - and filmed by his former cameraman Illienko - this bleak, sometimes elusive parable bears some resemblance to Paradjanov's renowned works in terms of its elliptical development, startling imagery and lack of dialogue. Shot in high-contrast b/w, however, the film adopts a more realist visual approach than the painterly tableaux of The Colour of Pomegranates, and the narrative has more flow. It starts with Solovyov on the run, taking refuge inside a metal hammer and sickle monument. The mother of a boy who plays there comes to his aid - and falls in love - until the son betrays him to the authorities. Back in prison he attempts suicide, only to be rescued from the dead at the morgue because of a crude blood transfusion from his accompanying prison guard, and is thus indebted... Despite its enigmatic nature, the film has a real and direct power thanks to Solovyov's haunting, cadaverous performance. Some searing images, too - not least that of swans, lured by the gleam of water to land on a washed down prison yard amid the baying inmates.

By: NB

Release details

Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Yuri Illienko
Screenwriter: Yuri Illienko, Sergo Paradjanov
Cast: Victor Solovyov
Ludmila Yefimenko
Pylyp Illienko
Maya Bulgakova
Victor Demertash

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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i saw this at the international cinema at BYU way back in the early 1990s. i remember a lot of the imagery mentioned here, especially the scene where the protagonist hides in the hammer and sickle monument, and i remember thinking that the film was worth seeing. now that i've actually lived in the former USSR and learned russian, i'd hoped to track this one down to watch again. i was surprised to see that this was the director's only film.


i saw this at the international cinema at BYU way back in the early 1990s. i remember a lot of the imagery mentioned here, especially the scene where the protagonist hides in the hammer and sickle monument, and i remember thinking that the film was worth seeing. now that i've actually lived in the former USSR and learned russian, i'd hoped to track this one down to watch again. i was surprised to see that this was the director's only film.