Tolomush Okeev1961-1970ArthouseDramaUSSR

Tolomush Okeev – Nebo Nashego Detstva aka The Skies of Our Childhood (1966)

Children of the old herdsman Banaya been living in the city. However, the younger son, who had come on vacation, Bakai, wants to leave in the pasture, despite the fact that the boy had become accustomed to the city and loves school.

What I especially liked about this film were the internal poetic resonances, one example of which would be the repeated use of ‘tunneling’ perspectives. One instance of this occurs at the end of the children’s race at the festival/picnic, this is echoed at the end of the film as the children ride through a long underpass tunnel on their way home.

There is use of ‘patterns of visual imagery’, (mainly with horses) traceable to the influence of Eizenstein, and not uncommon in Russian and Soviet cinema (I was reminded of the sheep herding scenes in one of Paradjanov’s films).

There is also a recurring visual commentary on the tension between the more traditional pastoral existence of the herdsmen and their modern Russian counterparts. This finds expression through scenes of the Grandfather releasing his eagle when the tribe strike camp and when he later catches site of a stuffed eagle atop a trailer at the construction workers camp, similarly when he ruefully observes dead fish, floating in the water following dynamiting by the construction workers, which also causes the tribesmen’s herd to stampede.

There is certainly a lot more going on here than the fairly basic ostensible narrative, and most of it is communicated visually with effective use of high and low camera angles, thoughtfully composed shots and recurring visual themes and motifs and set in stunningly photographed landscape.

870MB | 1h 14m | 576×288 | avi



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