Jim Shvante Sol’ Svanetii. 1930. USSR. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov. Silent; Russian intertitles, simultaneous English translation, and piano accompaniment. 66 min.
Screenplay by Kalatazov, from an idea by Sergei Tretyakov. Kalatazov’s debut film places him alongside the great Soviet directors, and this haunting portrait of the difficult life in a village in the remote, snowbound Caucasus is especially reminiscent of Alexander Dovzhenko in its poetic treatment of man in nature. Kalatozov uses the poetry of repetition and juxtaposition, distance and extreme close-up, wild rhythms and seemingly impossible angles, to jar us into the kind of recognition that only art can obtain.