Cine Club: Wednesday 22 October 2014 (7 pm)
Title: The Color of Pomegranates (Sayat Nova)
+ a documentary about Paradjanov
Director: Sergei Paradjanov (Georgia/Aremenia)
Language: Aremenian, Azerbajiani and Georgian (Eng S/T)
Duration: 1 hour 20 min
Key Actors: Sofiko Chiaureli, Melkon Alekyan, Vilen Galstyan
Interesting Links about the Film:
Trailer on YouTube: Click Here
IMDB Click Here
Wikipedia Click Here
World Cinema Review Click Here
Original Hunger Click Here
James Steffen Click Here
A Blog on Paradjanov Click Here
Synopsis: (adapted from MovieQua Click Here)
This film is a biography of the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova (King of Song). The director plots the poet's life more through his poetry than a conventional narration of important events in Sayat Nova’s life. We see the poet grow up, fall in love, enter a monastery and die, but these incidents are depicted in the context of what are images from Parajanov's imagination and Sayat Nova's poems, poems that are seen and rarely heard. Sofiko Chiaureli plays 6 roles, both male and female, and Sergei Parajanov writes, directs, edits, choreographs, works on costumes, design and decor and virtually every aspect of this revolutionary work void of any dialog or camera movement.
is a deeply spiritual testament to director Sergei Parajanov‘s fascination with Armenian folk art and culture. It is also a controversial work, which, coupled with another of his films, led to his arrest and imprisonment in a Soviet Gulag for four years. The Soviets insisted he was guilty of selling gold and icons illegally and committing "homosexual acts." In reality, his only crime was offending the tenets of socialist realism, both in his daring surrealistic form and in his choice of subject matter. While many of the popular films of this era in Soviet cinema were largely propaganda designed to serve the ideological interests of the regime, Parajanov chose to focus on the ethnography and spirituality of the Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia.
Director: Sergei Paradjanov (adapted from Wikipedia: Click Here)
One of the 20th century's greatest masters of cinema, in the 1960s, Parajanov produced 2 masterpieces in a row: Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964) and The Color of Pomegranates (1968). Both established him as a phenomenon with no analogy in the art world.
Paradjanov was born in 1924, in Tbilisi, Georgia, USSR, to an ethnic Armenian family. In 1945 he traveled to Moscow and entered the directing department at VGIK, one of the oldest and most highly respected film schools in Europe. He studied under director Igor Savchenko and later Aleksandr Dovzhenko in Kiev, Ukraine. He then moved to Kiev, where after a few documentaries (Dumka (1957), Zolotye ruki (1957), Natalya Uzhviy (1957)) and several narrative films (Andriesh (1954), Ukrainian Rhapsody (1961), Tsvetok na kamne (1962)) he created the magnificent Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, which won countless international awards, including the British Academy Award. The success of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors was compared to that of the super influential Battleship Potemkin (1925); however, "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" didn't conform to the standards of Soviet cinema and Parajanov was immediately blacklisted.
He left for Armenia to film the documentary Hakob Hovnatanyan (1967), and then in 1968 he created Sayat Nova (The Color of Pomegranates), his masterpiece. Sayat Nova was banned by Soviet authorities, re-edited and re-named The Color of Pomegranate. In December of 1973, the Soviet government arrested Parajanov and sentenced him to 5 years in hard labor camps. A large group of world-famous artists, filmmakers and activists protested and Parajanov was released, but only after having served four horrific years in the Soviet penal system. Poet Louis Aragon's petition to the Soviet government was instrumental in securing Parajanov's release.
Parajanov returned to Tbilisi, but the regime continued to keep him away from cinema. During and after prison Paradjanov created extraordinary collages, drawings and numerous other art works, now frequently exhibited worldwide. In 1984, however, political conditions started to change and, with the help of Georgian intellectuals, the government allowed Parajanov to create the multi-award winning The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984) 15 long years after Sayat Nova.
In 1986 Parajanov made yet another multi-award winning film, Ashik Kerib (1988), based on a tale by Mikhail Lermontov, and dedicated the film to his friend Andrei Tarkovsky. His stay in prison had crushed his health, however, and he passed away in July of 1990, leaving his final masterpiece The Confession unfinished. It survives in its original negative in Parajanov: The Last Spring (1992) by his closest friend Mikhail Vartanov.