all artistsSergey Parajanov

Sergey Parajanov (Sarkis Parajanyants)

1924-1990

Sergei Parajanov, film-maker and artist, used to say: “I have three motherlands – I was born in Georgia, worked in Ukraine and will die in Armenia”.

Sergei Parajanov was born in 1924 in Tbilisi into an Armenian family. Upon graduating from VGIK (State Institute of Cinematography), Moscow, he was directed to Kiev’s Dovzjenko film studio. Here in 1963 he created the film Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors, which brought him both worldwide popularity and persecution.

His next film, the antiwar “Kiev’s Frescoes”, was banned. In 1966 he was invited to Armenia, where he shot his best known film The Color of Pomegranate (Sayat-Nova), which underwent heavy Soviet cencorship before release. Nevertheless, this film won international recognition, as well as further provoking the authorities.

The film-director was imprisoned for five years (in Ukraine) and seven and a half months (in Georgia), depriving him of the possibility of working in cinematography for over 15 years.

He was eventually permitted to make films in 1983, in Georgia, where he made The Legend of Suram Fortress.

In spite of Parajanov’s hard live and unmerited sufferings, there is no malice evident in his art. He followed the principle of answering evil with kindness, as he put it, “to revenge by love”.

When the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict started in 1988, Parajanov was making his film Ashib-Kerib which had Muslim themes. Shooting took place in Azerbaijan. Parajanov decided not to interrupt the work despite the discontent of many Armenians.

During the years Parajanov was unable to shoot films and even when inprisoned, he continued his creative activity – painting, making collages, puppets and hats out of any materials that he came across.

“I was prohibited to make films and started to create collages. A collage is a compressed film”, he said.

In 1988 the Armenian Government built a house-museum for Parajanov, in Yerevan. However, as Sergei often joked, his life resembled the Opera “Traviata”; when Alfred finally returns, Violetta dies.

Unfortunately, because of the 1988 earthquake, construction of his museum was only completed in 1991, a year after Parajanov’s death, in Yerevan.

Filmography Sergei Parajanov

1954 Andriesh. 60min.

1960 Hands of Gold. 35min.

1957 Dumka. 25min.

1958 The First Lad. 85min.

1959 Natalia Uzhvij. 35min.

1961 Ukrainian Rhapsody. 90min. 1962 Flower on a Stone. 80min.

1964 Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors.97min

1966 Kiev’s Frescoes. 20min.

1967 Hakob Hovnatanyan. 10min.

1968 Sayat-Nova (The Color of Pomegranate). 75min.

1984 Legend of Surami Fortress. 88 min.

1986 Arabesques of the Theme of Pirosmani. 25min.

1989 Ashik-Kerib. 75 min.