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Spotlight >> Sergei Paradjanov


Sergei Paradjanov, Armenian Screenwriter Sergei Paradjanov was born Sarkis Yossifovich Paradjanian on January 9th, 1924 in Tbilisi, Georgia. He studied railway engineering, and later studied song and violin at the Tbilisi Conservatory of Music, before attending the Moscow Film School from 1946 to 1951. His diploma film, Moldavian Fairy Tale (1951) has been lost. He made several documentary films during the 1950s which are in the Kiev archive, and then made a series of feature films at Dovzhenko Studios: The First Lad, Ukrainian Rhapsody, and The Flower on the Stone. Then in 1964 Paradjanov’s ninth film, Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors, created a furor by revolting against the Social Realist principles of Soviet cinema. The film had a very limited release in the Soviet Union, though it received awards at international film festivals. His next films were plagued by production interruptions and other difficulties. He began shooting a film called Sayat Nova in Armenia but the director’s cut was confiscated; Paradjanov eliminated 20 minutes from his original film in order to rescue the project, and released the re-edited remainder under the title of The Color of Pomegranates (1969). Widely acclaimed as a masterwork of modern cinema, The Color of Pomegranates yet remains a fragment of its creator’s original vision: “My masterpiece no longer exists,” Paradjanov said. Paradjanov’s career was forcibly halted at this point. He was arrested in Kiev in 1973 and sentenced on April 25, 1974 to five years in a prison camp. The charges against him were: “business with art objects,” “leaning towards homosexuality,” “incitement to suicide,” and “black-marketing.” Released in 1978 following protests by friends and artists world-wide, he was allowed to return home to Tbilisi, but not allowed to make films. In 1982, he was again arrested and detained by the KGB. After 15 years of being blacklisted, Paradjanov was finally allowed to make several films in Tbilisi. He had just begun making an autobiographical film, Confessions, in 1989 when he fell ill with lung cancer. He died on July 20, 1990, in Yerevan, where he was buried.
FILMOGRAPHY
MOLDAVIAN FAIRY TALE, 1951 - Parajanov’s student film. Has been lost.

TARAS SHEVCHENKO, 1951 (w/ Igor Savchenko)

ANDRIESH, 1955 (w/ Yakov Brazelian) - This is the feature length version of the fairy-tale by the poet Emilian Bukov. Parajanov directed this film with Yakiv Bazelyan.

BALLAD, 1957

GOLDEN HANDS, 1958

NATALYA USHVIY, 1959

THE FIRST LAD, 1959

UKRAINIAN RHAPSODY, 1961

THE FLOWER ON THE STONE, 1962

SHADOWS OF OUR FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS, 1964

AKOP OVNATANIAN, 1965 - Exploring the art of Armenian portraitist Hakob Hovnatanyan, Parajanov revives the culture of Tbilisi of the 19th century. SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS (1967) ... aka Teni zabutykh predkiv. (1964) - In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her, his grief lasts months; finally he rejoins the colorful life around him, marrying Palagna.

KIEV FRESCOES, 1966

THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES, 1969 - a biography of the Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova (King of Song) reveals the poet's life more through his poetry. Considered a great masterpiece.

THE LEGEND OF SURAM FORTRESS, 1985

THEME PIROSMANI, 1986

ASHIK KERIB, 1988 - Wandering minstrel Ashik Kerib falls in love with a merchant's daughter, but is forced by her father to roam the world for a thousand and one nights.
 
SCRIPTS & PROJECTS
"THE CONFESSION"
 
"ARA THE BEAUTIFUL "
 
"DAVID OF SASUN "
 
"THE MARTYRDOM OF SHUSHANIK"
 
"THE TREASURES OF MOUNT ARARAT "

 
"INTERMEZZO"
 
"DEMON"
 
"MIRACLE OF ODENSE "
 
"GOLDEN EDGE"
 
In New York, the Anthology Film Archives will screen Sergei Parajanov's COLOR OF POMEGRANATE on 10 Aug 2005 at 7:00pm and SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS at 9:00pm. Incidentally , 10 years ago, the Anthology Film Archives had arranged a private showing of Vardanov's PARAJANOV: THE LAST SPRING for the legendary Allen Ginsberg who shed a tear at the screening.
 
In Armenia, during the recent film festival, the Afgan filmmaker Siddiq Barmak said: "Afghans know Armenia mainly thanks to the great Parajanov". The famous Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami added: "I am in Armenia for a few days, but I already feel the rhythm of Armenia’s life that resembles the inner rhythm of Paradjanov’s films". The festival's openning film MARIAM was directed by Edgar Baghdasarian who had participated in the making of Vartanov's PARAJANOV: THE LAST SPRING which screened before the festival. Responding to all the attention from the press, Vardanov said in an interview: "In the past 30 days I've been on TV and in newspapers overwhelmingly more than during the combined 30 years when I lived here". [ 05 August 2005 ]


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