Sergei Parajanov: magician of the cinema

sergei-parajanov_03This January  Armenian director Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990), one of the greatest visual artists of the twenty century, would have celebrated his 89th birthday. He had cinematic talent that can be compared to the leading film directors of his generation: Jean-Luc Godard,  Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni and Andrei Tarkovsky but in spite of his top-class creativity his works remained less known to the world audience for a long time.  Parajanov created his own inimitable cinematic style – his visual expression goes beyond the boundaries of narrative storytelling converting traditional approaches of filmmaking into cinematic poetry. Among his best known works are: “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” (1964) known in the West as “Wild Horses of Fire“and “Color of Pomegranates” about the life of an Armenian poet Sayat Nova (1969). Unfortunately, during his life Russian authorities suspended Parajanov from shooting films for more than ten years. Four out of his five-year- prison sentence was spent behind bars. Imprisoned, he got artistic inspiration to create numerous paintings, three-dimensional collages, screenplays and film sketches. Later, he compiled his inspirations into amazing artworks. After his death in 1990 Armenia opened Parajanov’s museum and the rich collection of his legacy became a part of the museum’s exhibitions.

The Documentary “Parajanov” by Ron Holloway is the one of the last interviews that Sergei Parajanov gave to the public in 1988. In this film he talks about his upbringing as a director and describes himself in the context of the great Soviet cinema movement outside of the government and mainstream’s demands. Also, in this film you can become familiar with rare footage from Parajanov’s less known works and learn more about the fate of a man who did not fit to the Soviet expectations. This film will be one of the first posts in Film Career devoted to less known film classics.


About zinasemenova

Russian filmmaker and blogger at

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