The Desert of Forbidden Art Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: How does art survive in a time of oppression? During the Soviet rule artists who stay true to their vision are executed, sent to mental hospitals or Gulags. Their plight inspires young Igor Savitsky. He pretends to buy state-approved art but instead daringly rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist's works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Though a penniless artist himself, he cajoles the cash to pay for the art from the same authorities who are banning it. Savitsky amasses an eclectic mix of Russian Avant-Garde art. But his greatest discovery is an unknown school of artists who settle in Uzbekistan after the Russian revolution of 1917, encountering a unique Islamic culture, as exotic to them as Tahiti was for Gauguin. They develop a startlingly original style, fusing European modernism with centuries-old Eastern traditions. (inMotion Studios)

  • Director: Amanda Pope
  • Genre(s): Adventure, Biography, Drama, History, War, Documentary
  • Rating: Unrated
  • Runtime: 80 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 17, 2011
    Tells a tale that is stranger than fiction several times over. Viewers of this remarkable documentary will be astonished at not only what this art looks like and why it's forbidden, but also where it is and how it got there.
  2. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Mar 8, 2011
    It's a must-see for anyone interested in art.
  3. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Mar 10, 2011
    The filmmakers found an appealing collection of relatives and others who knew these artists and Savitsky to tell the story, but they also let the art do the talking, with loving, lingering shots of the brightly colored works.
  4. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    Mar 7, 2011
    In The Desert of Forbidden Art, documentarians Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev offer some background on the late Savitsky, a painter who initially collected ethnic folk art quashed by the Stalin regime.
  5. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    Mar 7, 2011
    Does an admirable job of telling the stories of the obsessive Savitsky and other important Soviet artists, such as Alexander Volkov, Aleksei Rybnikov and Mikhail Kurzin.
  6. Reviewed by: Ed Schied
    Mar 14, 2011
    This impressive documentary on rarely seen art will have strong appeal for art aficionados.
  7. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Mar 11, 2011
    Sadly, with the Soviet Union gone, the art faces a new enemy: Islamic extremists.

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of