The shaman is still there. But now there is also a (Communist) scientist: a young geologist. And there is a portrait of Stalin hanging in the tent. Expeditions are underway in the Central Asian Altai Mountains to investigate the mineral resources, which the Soviet Union urgently needs in order to continue its industrialisation programme. And at the “golden spot” gold is discovered, which some bandits are also searching for. Hence, the film has all the conditions for an exciting story: a wild chase, a kidnapping, a murder, a forest fire, coincidences and even the deployment of a (modest) air fleet – right up to the fire at the end. The story is driven by the acute antagonisms between the indigenous peoples, the brave geologists, the bandits and a blonde beauty. The director had a wealth of experience with the studio's great expedition films (in the Retrospective programme, e.g. DVA OKEANA, Two Oceans). Hence, in between sections of thoroughly staged action, he was able to skilfully insert detailed intermediate scenes showing the region's virgin countryside, its fabulously lush vegetation and its wild animals in a manner that was both skilful and appropriate to the cinema.
Print courtesy of Gosfilmofond, Moscow
by Wladimir Schnejderow
with Iwan Nowoselzew, W. Tolstowa, Andrej Fait