Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This 1930 silent, black and white Soviet documentary explores the rigors of life in a community living high (approximately 2000 meters) in the Caucasus mountains of Georgia, in a valley by the name of Svanetia. One of the most important factors in the lives of the people living there is the complete absence of any salt, so that animals go to great lengths to obtain any. For instance, animals gladly come up to people in order to lick their sweat, and will try to obtain salt from human urine. Living conditions and beliefs in the region were quite primitive, according to the documentary. In one instance, a woman is left to endure labor unassisted, because she blasphemously began her labor during a man's funeral. However, modern values are on the horizon, as a paved road is being built into these mountains. Though this might otherwise seem a fairly straightforward example of early Soviet propaganda, the film is particularly notable for the stunning visual record it offers of a now-vanished way of life.
High Historical Importance