Unforgotten Shadows

Unforgotten Shadows (Тіні незабутих предків; literally translates as “Shadows of Unforgotten Ancestors”) is a 2013 Ukrainian mystical thriller.

The film starts out in the early 1800s, in the Carpathian Mountains, near Transylvania. We see the legend of the molfar (), a group of nine magicians who are fighting against the evil spirits that run wild in the forest. The nine molfar manage to capture all the spirits in their Book of Shadows and lock the book with their magical Zgarda (Зґарда—a sort of religious ornament that usually hangs on a necklace), but unbeknownst to them, they leave open a loophole which which the spirits can escape.

The present-day section of the film comes next, taking place at Chernivtsi National University (). The magical Zgarda has at some point been found and donated to the university, where it resides as an exhibit. But one day, the Zgarda disappears, and university students begin disappearing and are soon found dead. It’s up to one everyday university student, a descendent of one of the molfar, to save them all and get rid of the evil spirits once again.

The film is based on old Hutsul legend—giving it added appeal for those who are interested in old Ukrainian folklore—which the film’s director, Lyubomir Levitskiy (Любомир Левицький), heard from his grandfather when he was growing up. The main stars were found through a nationwide casting—none of the young actors was established in show business before this. It was filmed by Mark Eberle, best known for his work on Twilight.

The film got very mixed reviews—some highly negative that just didn’t think it was very good; some more positive ones that found it entertaining—and did reasonably well at box offices and among audiences.

 

Director: Lyubomir Levitskiy (Любомир Левицький)
Stars: Dmytro Stupko (Дмитро Ступка), Olena Musienko (Олена Мусієнко), Vladislav Nikityuk (Владислав Никитюк), Pavlo Li (Павло Лі), Bohdan Yusypchuk (Богдан Юсипчук), Marina Shako (Марина Шако), Roksolana Kravchuk (Роксолана Кравчук), Sofa Galaburad (Софа Галабурад)
Production company: Unison Cinema, Suspense Films
Box office take: $643,000

 

Official trailer:

 

Unforgotten Shadows

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.