Saturday, October 07, 2017

Kara-Dag. Zhemchuzhina vostochnogo Kryma / [Kara-Dag. The Pearl of Eastern Crimea]

Kara-Dag (SU 1929), D: Anatoly Zhardiniye. Photo: RGAKFD, Krasnogorsk.

Карадаг. Жемчужина восточного Крыма / [Kara-Dag, la perla della Crimea orientale]. SU 1929, dir, photog: Anatoly Zhardiniye, prod: Sovkino, DCP (from 35 mm, 359 m), 13 min; titles: RUS, source: RGAKFD, Krasnogorsk.
   Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone: Soviet Travelogues.
   Grand piano: José Maria Serralde Ruiz.
   Cinemazero, e-subtitles in English and Italian, 7 Oct 2017.

Oksana Sarkisova (GCM 2017): "The end of the 1920s witnessed a surge in mass tourism, prompting Soviet film studios to increase their output of expedition films depicting the beauty and tourist potential of various regions. The Crimea was turning into “the people’s resort,” and kulturfilms started to promote the area as a popular locale.The coastline of the Black Sea, known as the “Soviet Riviera”, attracted the attention of filmmakers and cameramen in the second half of the decade. Kara-Dag (Black Mountain), a volcanic mountain range in Eastern Crimea, was especially famed as a destination for poets and artists in the early 20th century. Poet Maximilian Voloshin’s mansion in Koktebel at the foot of the mountain served as a summer residence and shelter for many “Silver Age” poets, including Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, and Andrei Belyi, who found inspiration there, immersed themselves in “primeval” nature, and discovered a safe haven in increasingly troubled times."

"Cinematographer Anatoly Zhardiniye combined an interest in filming with experiments with gliding – another activity which has attracted many adventurers to the Crimea. In 1929 he produced this one-reel travelogue, which features numerous panoramic vistas, showcasing the beauty of the area’s picturesque coastline with its famous gorges and cliffs, and many natural rock formations, such as Kara-Dag’s Great Wall, Devil’s Finger, King, Queen, and other peculiar shapes linked to ancient legends. The film also includes a visit to the village of Otuzy, inhabited by Crimean Tatars, where the camera captures traditional dwellings (saklia), gardens and vineyards, a cemetery, and a winery. We also see the Biological Station of the National Academy of Science, established in 1901 by the scientist Terenty Vyazemsky (1857-1914), who transformed his own estate as well as donating his considerable library for the purpose. The station was later nationalized and continues to host a research center and a rich botanical and mineral collection. The film Kara-Dag thus fuses cultural, touristic, ethnographic, and scientific frames of reference.
" Oksana Sarkisova

AA: A geological travelogue of the magnificent volcanic rock formation Kara Dag (Black Mount) between Koktebel and the Otuzka River Valley on the south coast of Crimea.

Kara Dag is introduced in a tracking shot from a boat. Gora Svyataya (Sacred Mountain) has emerged from volcanic matter, liquidified lava. Mountain climbing is hazardous as stones are easily removed on the limestone slopes.

At the Kok-Kaya the destructive force of lime, the levelling impact is in evidence.

We observe the Ivan-Razboinik Rock, the mythical Vorota Karadaya (= today Zolotye Vorota or The Golden Gate, also known as Shaitan-kapu / Chertovy), and Chortov Palek = Devil's Finger.

From the underground water beautiful springs emerge. Cows are on pasture. We witness the erosion of Karache slopes. Ocean waves have worked the deep rock and the solidified lava.

At Otuzka villages grapes are cultivated. Grapes look juicy. Most become wine. Villagers dance a ring dance.

Finally we see the biological research station established by Terentiy Viazamsky. The Mediterranean vegetation is studied there.

André Bazin would have loved this film, as would Andrei Tarkovsky: a film about sculpting in time. There is a sense of the sublime in the way the landscapes are shot.

There were touches of J. S. Bach in the piano interpretation of José Maria Serralde Ruiz.

A pale dupe in low contrast of a film that must have looked beautiful.

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