Salt for Svanetia

Extraordinary documentary film made in 1930 by Russian director Mikhail Kolotozov about the extraordinary life of Ushgul people in Svanetia somewhere in the mountainous region of Georgia in erstwhile Soviet Union. It is a silent film but description is given in English. The music is the film is apt, but i don’t know if the music is original or was added later on. The film documents the hard times that the Ushguls had in carrying on with their lives especially as the village is encircled by mountains with nary a path or road to take them to other villages. So everything was made and sold within the village itself. But the village had an unique problem, they did not have any salt in the village with the result, the villagers were suffering and so were the cattle. Pregnancy is cursed in the village because there is nowhere to go to deliver the baby, and babies die soon after their birth. The camera work and cinematography is exceptional, especially if you consider this film was made in 1930 when filmmaking techniques were rudimentary. Some of the camera work was too good – both close up shots and long shots were quite beautiful. In that sense it is a very revolutionary documentary film.

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