The Cinema of Sergei Parajanov
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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List of Illustrations
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Zaven Sargsyan and the staff at the Sergei Parajanov Museum in Yerevan not only opened up the rich trove of materials at the museum and answered count-less questions, but helped with the logistics of my stays in Yerevan and Kyiv; for this I am endlessly grateful. The late Tetiana Derevianko at the Dovzhenko Film Studio Museum in Kyiv also shared many rare materials and provided a ...
Note on Transliteration
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The subject of this book poses special challenges for transliteration because it encompasses multiple languages and alphabets—primarily Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, and Armenian. There is no easy solution to the problems that result, nor is it even feasible to achieve complete internal consistency. With this caveat in mind, the primary goal is to make the main body of the text accessible to a ...
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In addition to my own research, sources for this chronology include: Karen Kalantar, Ocherki o Paradzhanove (Yerevan: Izd- vo Gitutiun NAN RA, 1998); “Khronika zhizni i tvorchestva Sergeia Paradzhanova (Sargisa Paradzha-niantsa),” in Sergei Paradzhanov and Zaven Sarkisian, Kaleidoskop Paradzhanova (Yerevan: Muzei Sergeia Paradzhanova, 2008), 9–17; and “Khronika zhizni i ...
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Few fi lm directors ever manage to create a single image that is truly unlike anything you have seen before. In that respect, Sergei Parajanov’s fi lms seem almost reckless in their generosity. We watch a tree falling on the man who has felled it—from the point of view of the tree. An androgynous robed fi gure pours a vat of wine over the chest of a dying poet. Wives in a fairy- tale sultan’s harem fi re toy automatic rifl es into the air. Meticulously composed tableaux ...
1. An Artist’s Origins: Youth and Early Ukrainian Films
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The story of Parajanov necessarily begins with Tbilisi, also known histori- cally as Tifl is. The city’s rich history and lore laid the foundations for his eclectic artistic sensibility and his outlook on life. Nestled in a picturesque valley of the Mtkvari (or Kura) River, Tbilisi is divided by a steep gorge. Although the region has a long history of human settlement, the city proper was established in the late fi fth century by the Georgian king Vakhtang I (Vakhtang Gorgasali), ...
2. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Ukrainian Revival
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Judging solely by the fi lms Parajanov had made so far, no one could have predicted what would happen when he was given his next assignment. At the urging of Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky’s daughter, the Dovzhenko Film Studio agreed to produce an adaptation of the Ukrainian writer’s masterpiece Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors to commemorate the centenary of his birth. Renata Korol, a member of the studio’s Script- Editorial Board, gave the project to Ivan ...
3. Kyiv Frescoes: The Film That Might Have Been
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Kyiv Frescoes (Kievskie freski, Dovzhenko Film Studio 1965–1966), the aborted project that Parajanov had planned as his follow- up to Shadows of Forgot-ten Ancestors, represented a major turning point in his career. It marks the fi rst systematic articulation of his mature tableau style associated with The Color of Pomegranates, but it is also of great interest for its unusual perspective on contem-porary life in Kyiv. Work on Kyiv Frescoes lasted a little over one year, from late ...
4. The Color of Pomegranates: The Making and Unmaking of a Film
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However exotic Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors must have seemed to Soviet viewers when it was fi rst released, it nonetheless represented a clear synthesis of three major stylistic paths in Soviet cinema: Kalatozov and Urusevsky’s virtuoso camerawork, Dovzhenko’s poetic tableau imagery, and Tarkovsky’s surreal dream sequences. As an adaptation of Mykhailo Kotsiubyn-sky’s novella, Shadows also used a relatively straightforward, folklore- based nar-...
5. Silent Years: Unproduced Scripts, 1967–1973
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During this period Parajanov wrote some of his most signifi cant scripts, among them The Demon (Demon), Confession (Ispoved’), and The Slumber-ing Palace (Dremliushchii dvorets). Three projects—Intermezzo, Inga, and A Miracle in Odense (Chudo v Odense)—went into preproduction. He was unable to realize them because of confl icts with the authorities that came to a head with his December 1973 arrest and subsequent imprisonment on politically motivated ...
6. Internal Exile: Arrest and Imprisonment, 1973–1982
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As new details continue to emerge about Parajanov’s 1973 arrest, it has become clear that the Ukrainian KGB, both on its own and likely under direction from Moscow, played the main role. According to one report by the Ukrainian KGB, Parajanov had fallen under scrutiny by the agency since 1962 due to “his meetings and correspondence with foreigners from capitalist countries.”1 Vitaly Nikitchenko, the chair of the KGB in Ukraine, sent a report ...
7. The Legend of the Surami Fortress: Thunder Over Georgia
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In late November 1982, only weeks after Parajanov’s release from jail, Rezo Chkheidze, the head of the Georgia Film Studio, offered him the opportu-nity to direct a new fi lm: The Legend of the Surami Fortress (Legenda Suramskoi kreposti, Georgia Film Studio 1984), based on a script by Vazha Gigashvili. The proposal came with the support of Eduard Shevardnadze, the fi rst secretary of the Com-munist Party of Georgia.1 Together with the production of Tengiz Abuladze’s ...
8. Ashik- Kerib: The End of a Career
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Parajanov’s next project was supposed to be his long- delayed adaptation of Lermontov’s The Demon, using mountain locations. The Russian painter Mikhail Vrubel’s famed paintings of episodes from The Demon were to serve as a main source of inspiration for its visual style. The fi lm’s cinematographer Albert Yavurian recalls that by the time everything was ready for shooting to begin in August 1987, Parajanov and he decided that the light was too harsh for the ...
Epilogue: Parajanov’s Afterlife
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Parajanov’s experimental fi lm language and challenging, at times subver- sive, subject matter place him squarely within the global art fi lm tradition. The question of his infl uence within the countries of the former Soviet Union remains complicated. Younger Soviet fi lmmakers such as Roman Balaian (Ukraine), Artavazd Peleshian and Mikhail Vartanov (Armenia), and Rustam Khamdamov (Russia) were undoubtedly infl uenced by their friendship with ...
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Other Works in the Series
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Page Count: 326
Illustrations: 43 b/w illus., 1 table
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Wisconsin Film Studies