Segments in this Video

Living Fire: Introduction (02:33)


Hutsul shepherds graze their flocks in the highlands for four months out of the year.

Hutsul Shepherds (02:48)

A shepherd leads his flock in the Carpathian Mountains. In the village, locals celebrate a religious holiday. (Credits)

Comparing the Past and Present (03:12)

Ivan Besashcuk would like to see the shacks where the head shepherds once made brynza cheese and reflect on the changes. Ivan Myxhajljuk and Dmytro go to Kashytskiy. Besashcuk reflects on living alone in the house he built; Vasyl Tonjuk tends the sheep.

Ivan Myxhajljuk's School Day (02:08)

Myxhajljuk's mother must come to the school so that he can leave early. The teacher asks students to draw a picture of their talent.

Cultural Traditions (04:53)

Besashcuk becomes emotional when reflecting on "burning the old man." See men shear a sheep and a horse struggling to stand. Tonjuk teases Myxhajljuk and explains that the mare suffers from enteritis.

Life in the Highlands (04:01)

Besashcuk reflects on aging. Myxhajljuk bathes in an outdoor tub. Villagers attend a religious service; young boys ring the church bells.

Preparing for the Highlands (02:33)

Myxhajljuk sings and pretends to play the accordion. Shepherds pack the belongings and say a prayer; Tonjuk worries about his flock.

Herding Sheep (03:58)

Men from the village herd their flocks into the highlands. Besashcuk states that sheep want absolute freedom.

Tending Sheep in the Highlands (03:40)

Myxhajljuk struggles to wake up in the morning and gets into trouble. Shepherds smoke cigarettes and tend to the sheep; Myxhajljuk remembers going to Kashytskiy with Dmytro.

Life of a Shepherd (03:34)

Shepherds discuss building another milking shed. Myxhajljuk listens to the shepherds sing and reflects on life back in the village. Besashcuk loved the highlands and herding sheep.

Living off the Land (03:46)

Tonjuk tells someone over the phone that they cannot drive cows to the highlands because of bad weather; shepherds mend fences. Besashcuk discusses livestock. Myxhajljuk counts the sheep and calls them back.

Choosing to be a Shepherd (03:56)

Tonjuk works in the cheese shack. Besashcuk says he regrets not staying home with his wife, but shepherding was his destiny. Myxhajljuk rides his bike to the shack and tells Tonjuk 29 sheep are injured; Tonjuk travels to sell cheese.

Village Bazaar (04:23)

Besashcuk hitches a horse to a wagon and purchases grain in the village. Tonjuk sells the cheese; he is frustrated with the other shepherds.

Injured Sheep (02:47)

Myxhajljuk says he is digging for gold, but that salt is worth more. He plays in the pasture and tends to a sheep with a swollen leg.

Future of the Shepherds (04:05)

Besashcuk reveals the casket he built for himself. Myxhajljuk chops wood and calls the sheep. Tonjuk and the other shepherds argue about cows on the highland pastures.

Life and Death on the Highlands (04:57)

Besashcuk lays out his funerary clothes. Myxhajljuk stays with the sheep at night. Several sheep in the flock give birth.

Youth in the Highlands (02:05)

Tonjuk instructs Myxhajljuk to lock up the injured sheep. Besashcuk looks through family photos and recalls his wife bringing his children to the highlands to visit.

Highland Pastures (03:08)

Myxhajljuk gets in trouble for leaving his bike in the wrong place and takes a bath outside. Besashcuk sings about vodka on his way to visit the shacks in the highlands; he wanders the pasture.

Limited Working Pastures (03:21)

Tonjuk does not want the sheep to come in for milking until later. He discusses being wet and cold in the winter and the difficulties of summer pasturing. Besashcuk wanders among the sheep and sings.

Visiting the Shepherds in the Highlands (02:41)

Besashcuk reminisces with Tonjuk and asks Myxhajljuk about school.

Summer Return (02:50)

Shepherds lead the sheep back to the village. Tonjuk worries about "settling up" with everyone; health of the sheep is most important. Villagers take their sheep home.

Shepherding in the Carpathian Mountains (03:24)

Villagers serenade Besashcuk and wish him a merry Christmas; Besashcuk becomes emotional. Myxhajljuk attends school and plays in the snow. Radul is the only remaining pasture where shepherding is practiced.

Credits: The Living Fire (01:44)

Credits: The Living Fire

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

The Living Fire

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $0.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



With the thick snow melting in the breathtaking Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine, spring is approaching and three men must prepare for an arduous journey up into the mountains. The Living Fire is a moving and captivating tale of three shepherds, each at a different stage in his life. Bound by tradition, they reflect on the meaning of their own existence as the contemporary world encroaches on their remote community and threatens to destroy their way of life.

Length: 77 minutes

Item#: BVL118310

ISBN: 978-1-63521-436-9

Copyright date: ©2015

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.