In the previous post I could not resist the temptation and I have smuggled a cuckoo’s egg among the photos of Odessa that has become a ghost city. This photo was also taken by Vsevolod Vlasenko, but instead of Odessa it was made in the Moscow studio of Rustam Khamdamov, the director of Vocal parallels (2005). I also included it among the photos of Odessa as a visual parallel, so that it would recall, by way of substitution, the lost richness of that city. Only later I discovered that it fell exactly at the middle of the photo series.

“– What is your father’s profession?
– My father writes poetry. That’s all he does. He is one of the greatest unknown poets of the world.”

(A dialog from Rustam Khamdamov’s My heart’s in the highlands (1967))

The Uzbek painter and film director Rustam Khamdamov is one of the greatest unknown poets of Russian movie. Fellini, Visconti and Paradjanov all were enthusiastic about his My heart’s in the highlands that he directed in 1967 as a student of the Institute of Cinematography. The film was banned by Soviet censorship. In 1974 his next film Unintended pleasures was not even allowed to be completed; its concept was included a year later into A slave of love by Nikita Mikhalkov who has always been very sensitive to the changing winds of the regime. In 1991 his Anna Karamazoff caused a scandal in Cannes and it was not projected any more (although it can be found on the Russian web). Only the Vocal parallels of 2005 brought a late success to the director whose studio was photographed by Vsevolod Vlasenko at the time when the film was just finished.

„For Rustam Khamdamov what matters is not so much WHAT HAPPENS, but IN WHAT ENVIRONMENT and HOW he shows it. The images that later became Khamdamov’s trademarks first appear in My Heart’s in the Highlands: the room cluttered with every sort of art object in every space, ladies stockings hanging over a balcony rail, the peculiar, elegant ladies hat with the white band and feathers, and always visions of women and the Feminine.”

– writes Irina Goncharova in her review on Khamdamov published in last October, the best and most thorough essay among the few ones written on the director either in Russian or in any other language.

These photos are just like visual commentaries to Khamdamov’s movies and paintings.

Details from Khamdamov’s В горах мое сердце – My heart’s in the highlands (1967),
and some of his drawings from 2009

Detail from Анна Карамазофф – Anna Karamazoff (1991)

Detail from Вокальные параллели – Vocal parallels (2005). The Kazakh opera singer
Bibigul Tulegenova sings the love aria “No man has ever set me
on fire” from Verdi’s Traviata.

A painting by Rustam Khamdamov where he also represented some objects from his studio.

9 comentarios:

Effe dijo...

Un magnifico cuckoo’s egg!
D’altro canto, resistiamo a tutto tranne che alle tentazioni…
E pensare che quella foto mi era sembrata autenticamente odessita, ridondante per accumulazione di oggetti, chiusa e oscura ma con una promessa di luce.
Era perfetta.
A volte, la rappresentazione è più vera della realtà.
Ottimo post.

Irene dijo...

Hi, my name is Irina Goncharova. I'm here to express my gratitude to you for your kind words about my essay on Rustam Khamdamov.
I love your blog. The Odessa pictures especially. You're doing a great job here.
The color photos of the Russian Empire on the eve of the WWI might be those taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Am I mistaken? I hope you know the story of the person.
My kindest regards to you. ;)

Studiolum dijo...

Здравствуйте, Ирина. Огромное спасибо Вам за хорошие слова и особенно за Ваш замечательный очерк. Я его прочитал с большим удовольствием, и нашел его очень подробным и глубоким.

I read your insightful essay with great pleasure, and would be grateful if you pointed me to other essays of yours, either in Russian or in other languages.

Yes, I know Prokudin-Gorsky, I have carefully watched all his recently published color photos. But these one presented here below were taken, as I have written, by a Czech photographer, František Krátký (1851-1924) who came to Russia in 1896 especially for taking photos at the coronation of Nicholas II. And these photos, in contrast to Prokudin-Gorsky’s ones, were originally BW and only colored later by hand.

Thank you once more and best regards – Тамаш, Будапешт и Антонио, Палма де Майорка

Irene dijo...

Тамаш, Будапешт и Антонио, Пальма де Майорка, I'm much impressed by the blog, its content and the way you present the material.Your choice and tastes are perfect!
I was a little bit fast mentioning Prokudin-Gorsky. I understood it later, after reading more of your blog posts and more carefully studying the photos.
Regarding the review, so far it's my first and the only amateur review in English or any other languages. I simply love the director and his films. But I'm going to write more for My major occupation right now is poetry writing-Russian and Ukrainian-and translating.
Irina, Kiev, Ukraine

Effe dijo...

(this blog is a whole world)

francesca dijo...

I found this article and the blog it links to got me thinking about how you would use the source of photos. Then I came here, checked it out and found out that you already knew the source. At that point, I had two alternatives: either delete the comment or take the opportunity to say hello. I opted for the latter.

Studiolum dijo...

Thanks a lot for the link and even more for saying hello! Yes, although Big Picture published this selection of his photos only two days ago, they have spread like – let us remain with recent Russian metaphors – like wildfire, I encountered them and a reference to them in a number of sites in the last two days. But they are only a handful of all his pictures. Here you can find them all, with detailed description.

francesca dijo...

Thank you for your link. So French sites seem to come rather late, as usual :-) Still, I find it nice that pictures coming from those places and those times encounter the favour of the public of different countries (I keep on being surprised by the potentiality of internet, but that makes part of my naïveté :-))

Anónimo dijo...

I am very much impressed by your blog. I find the visuals very carefully chosen and the subjects unusual, which is a good thing and very attention-drawing.

I found the link to your page by searching for English sources about Khamdamov and thus I am intrigued to know what is your opinion and your personal interest in the Art of Khamdamov?

I also kindly invite you to visit my blog, which is rather used as a personal page dedicated yo my cinematic work.

With kindest regards,