Salt for Svaneti/Jim Shvante (marili svanets) (1930)
DVD5 | Run time: ~49 min | MPEG2 720x480 NTSC 4:3 ~7810 kbps avg | 2.91 GB
audio: Silent (only music) | Dolby AC3 2 ch ~192 Kbps | Intertitles: Russian | Sub: English
Released the following year (though virtually unseen in the U.S. until this Kino on Video release), Salt for Svanetia is an ethnographic treasure that ducuments with visual bravado the harsh conditions of life in the isolated mountain village of Ushkul. Often compared to the Land Without Bread, Salt begins as a starkly rendered homage to the resourcefulness and determination of the Svan. But as the focus shifts to the tribe's barbaric religious customs (more haunting and otherworldly than any surrealist could have envisioned), Mikhial Kalatozov's film transforms itself into a work of remarkably powerful Communist propaganda, holding up these grotesque, near-pagan ceremonies (which many Svanetians later denied the authenticity of) as an example of religion's corruptive influence.