Legend of the Ancient Mountains

Turkmenistan, USSR. 1988. 73 min. Color.
Turkmen with no subtitles
Director: Iazgeldy Seidov
Script: Iazgeldy Seidov, Vladislav Fedoseev
Cinematography: Nikolai Zhilin
With Iazmyrat Bekiev, Ata Dovletov, Saparmyrat Odoev

The film is a parable about the old and the young. A grandfather's prize hunting eagle is killed by a dog, so he must scale a high peak in search of a new eaglet to train. He is stranded in the mountaintop eyrie when a mother eagle, protecting her offspring, cuts the old man's lifeline. As he waits for either death or rescue, he bonds with the eagle. Meanwhile, the man's son and grandson find themselves in a predicament of their own as they attempt to rescue the old man. The boy ultimately must save his grandfather alone.

Seidov's allegorical film depicts both the human and natural environments of Turkmenistan: scenes of traditional daily life among the Turkmen are interspersed with shots of the local fauna's own life cycles.


Iazgeldy Seidov is a rare living link to the golden age of silent film in Russia: he studied at the State Filmmaking Institute (VGIK) in the 1950s in the last workshop of early Soviet master Lev Kuleshov, whose theories of cinema predated and influenced those of Eisenstein, Dovzhenko, and Pudovkin.

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