Date: 13 March 2014
Title: The Legend of the Surami Fortress
Director: Sergei Parajanov
Language: Georgian Armenian Dialect + English Subtitles
Duration: 84 minutes
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Mouawad Museum (Beirut, Lebanon)
Link to IMDB: Click Here
Trailer from YouTube: Click Here
New York Times: Click Here
CineOutsider: Click Here
On Discovering Parajanov: Click Here
Sergei Parajanov: Official Site: Click Here
Synopsis: (Adapted from Wikipedia: Click Here)
The Legend of the Surami Fortress is a 1984 film directed by Georgian USSR born Soviet-Armenian director Sergei Parajanov. His first film after 15 years of censorship in the Soviet Union, a film stylistically linked with his earlier The Color of Pomegranates (1968).
The film consists of a series of tableaux. Once again minimal dialogue is used. The film abounds in surreal, almost oneiric power.
The story is a retelling of a well-known Georgian folk-tale brought into written literature by the 19th-century writer Daniel Chonkadze. Durmishkhan is a serf freed by his master. Now, he has to buy the freedom of his lover Vardo to marry her. He leaves his land and encounters a merchant named Osman Agha who tells his story. He was born a serf named Nodar Zalikashvili. After he had lost his mother due to his master's cruelty, he killed his master, fled, and embraced Islam to avoid persecution. Durmishkhan now starts to work for Osman Agha and marries another woman, who gives birth to a boy named Zurab. Meanwhile Vardo becomes a fortune teller. Osman Agha leaves his trade to Durmishkhan and converts to Christianity. In a dream a group of Muslims kill him for being a murtad. Zurab grows up and starts to work with his father. Durmishkhan, having converted to Islam, has become a stranger to his land and people. Georgia comes under the threat of Muslim invaders and the king gives orders to bolster all fortresses in the country. However, Suram Fortress continues to crumble. Durmishkhan returns to Muslim territory. King's men come to Vardo the fortune teller to have her solve the mystery of Suram Fortress. Vardo tells that a blue-eyed young man of the country must be bricked up alive in order for the fortress to stand. Zurab sacrifices himself to save his country and its Christian faith.
Sergei Parajanov: (From IMDB: Click Here)
One of the 20th century's greatest masters of cinema Sergei Parajanov was born in Georgia to Armenian parents and it was always unlikely that his work would conform to the strict socialist realism that Soviet authorities preferred. After studying film and music, Parajanov became an assistant director at the Dovzhenko studios in Kiev, making his directorial debut in 1954, following that with numerous shorts and features, all of which he subsequently dismissed as "garbage". However, in 1964 he was able to make Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), a rhapsodic celebration of Ukrainian folk culture, and the world discovered a startling and idiosyncratic new talent. He followed this up with the even more innovative The Color of Pomegranates (1968) (which explored the art and poetry of his native Armenia in a series of stunningly beautiful tableaux), but by this stage the authorities had had enough, and Paradjanov spent most of the 1970s in prison on almost certainly rigged charges of "homosexuality and illegal trafficking in religious icons". However, with the coming of perestroika, he was able to make two further films before succumbing to cancer in 1990.