"Color of Pomegranates" by Sergei Parajanov to be displayed in Cannes Film Festival
YEREVAN, OCTOBER 22, ARMENPRESS. This year the World Cinema Fund will restore the film "Color of Pomegranates" by Sergei Parajanov (Sayat-Nova) for the purpose of displaying it as the best sample of the world cinematographic art in the Cannes Film Festival 2014. As the director of Armenian National Cinema Center Gevorg Gevorgyan pointed out at the conversation with Armenpress, every year the Cannes Film Festival displays one similar show, so Armenia will have an opportunity to worthily introduce itself in the prestigious festival.
The Wold Cinema Fund has a purpose to restore and extend the best samples of the world cinema. This film by Parajanov is considered to be one of the pearls of world cinema, and the film is in the phase of recovery. The restored version of the film will be ready in the near future. It is an achievement for any country to display a film in the Cannes Film Festival. In means that our film is worth being known by the society. Soon, the World Cinema Fund will begin the restoration of the films by Artavazd Peleshyan,” pointed out the director of Armenian National Cinema Center Gevorg Gevorgyan.
Sergei Parajanov was born on January 9, 1924. He was an Armenian film director and artist who made significant contributions to the Ukrainian, Armenian and Georgian cinema. He invented his own cinematic style, which was totally out of step with the guiding principles of socialist realism (the only sanctioned art style in the USSR). This, combined with his controversial lifestyle and behaviour, led Soviet authorities to repeatedly persecute and imprison him, and suppress his films.
Although he started professional film-making in 1954, Parajanov later disowned all the films he made before 1964 as "garbage". After directing Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (renamed Wild Horses of Fire for most foreign distributions) Parajanov became something of an international celebrity and simultaneously a target of attacks from the system. Nearly all of his film projects and plans from 1965 to 1973 were banned, scrapped or closed by the Soviet film administrations, both local (in Kyiv and Yerevan) and federal (Goskino), almost without discussion, until he was finally arrested in late 1973. He was imprisoned until 1977, despite a plethora of pleas for pardon from various artists. Even after his release (he was arrested for the third and last time in 1982) he was a persona non grata in Soviet cinema. It was not until the mid-1980s, when the political climate started to relax, that he could resume directing. Still, it required the help of influential Georgian actor Dodo Abashidze and other friends to have his last feature films greenlighted. His health seriously weakened by four years in labor camps and nine months in prison in Tbilisi, Parajanov died of lung cancer in 1990, at a time when, after almost 20 years of suppression, his films were being featured at foreign film festivals.
In 1984, the slow thaw within the Soviet Union spurred Parajanov to resume his passion for cinema. With the encouragement of various Georgian intellectuals, he created the multi-award-winning film Legend of Suram Fortress, based on a novella by Daniel Chonkadze, his first return to cinema since Sayat Nova fifteen years earlier. In 1988, Parajanov made another multi-award-winning film, Ashik Kerib, based on a story by Mikhail Lermontov. Parajanov dedicated the film to his close friend Andrei Tarkovsky and "to all the children of the world".
Parajanov then immersed himself in a project that ultimately proved too monumental for his failing health. He died of cancer in Yerevan, Armenia, on July 20, 1990, aged 66, leaving this final work, The Confession, unfinished. It survives in its original negative as Parajanov: The Last Spring, assembled by his close friend Mikhail Vartanov in 1992. Federico Fellini, Tonino Guerra, Francesco Rosi, Alberto Moravia, Giulietta Masina, Marcello Mastroianni and Bernardo Bertolucci were among those who publicly mourned his death. A telegram that came to Russia read"The world of cinema has lost a magician".
The Parajanov-Vartanov Institute was established in Hollywood in 2010 to study, preserve and promote the artistic legacies of Sergei Parajanov and Mikhail Vartanov.