USSR, 1964, 77 min, 70mm, colour, Russian
[Except for a last minute miracle, The Enchanted Desna will not be screened in Pamplona. The only copy located is a 70mm positive, and 70mm projectors are in the hands of a few and increasingly hard to come by. We’ve left it in the programme because it’s irreplaceable and deserves to be known and recognised, distributed everywhere.]
In somebody else’s words: When I was a little boy, the grass was taller than me and full of sky. Where is the sky of grass, that zenith within reach? The cloud has risen to a fiendish height. Yuliya Solntseva brings down that devilishly high cloud for us, so that we can feel the feelings of a child or even recoup childlike feelings. She films the childhood memories of her husband, a famous artist. We don’t know how much imagination he put into writing them, but she, who wasn’t there, had to put in a great deal. And the product of that is Zacharovannaya Desna (The Enchanted Desna): an enchanted film brimming with desire, capable of dragging you completely out of yourself. Life goes by along the Desna. First childhood, then the war and then progress, concrete. What film that supports dams —at least in its forms, where appropriate— would show you the everlasting spring floods as we dreamt of them as children, that is, as a party? Is that dialectics? Under the moon, two horses, mistreated by the protagonist’s father, to whom the protagonist dedicates some very kind words, remember the time when they still had wings. Is that what communism is, room for everyone? Yes, and above all a matter of perception.