In his wordless debut film, Mikhail Vartanov
presents the ancient and modern art of Armenia through the post-impressionist
painter Martiros Saryan's silent commentary of gestures. Biblical landscapes,
the ruins of temples, frescos, cross-stones, contemporary sculptures of Chakmakchian,
the first appearance on film of iconic modernist painter Minas
and his paintings, as well as the world famous behind-the-scenes episodes
of Sergei Parajanov's landmark Sayat Nova. The score of
of Armenian Land was composed by Tigran Mansurian, who
had also scored Sayat Nova and several of Vartanov's other films, such as
Autumn Pastoral (1971).
[The Color of Armenian Land]
Appearance of Sergei Parajanov and painter Minas,
whom the communist authorities didn't favor,
was the key reason why Vartanov's The Color
of Armenian Land was shelved. Vartanov was later blacklisted for supporting
and corresponding with the imprisoned Sergei Parajanov.
Some of the sequences of The Color
of Armenian Land reappeared in Vartanov's
Paradjanov: The Last Spring (1992), but
an important part was stolen from the archives - only 1 frame recently surfaced (below).
[Sergei Paradjanov poses for Mikhail Vartanov in 1968]
The above frame is from the sequence that was not part of the final censored cut of the Color of Armenian Land --
when Vartanov wanted to include this footage into
Paradjanov: The Last Spring (1992)
he couldn't find it in the archives. In 1998 a calendar was printed in Armenia
where this frame was used and credited to a "staff photographer" while in reality someone
cut the original negative of Mikhail Vartanov's film and enlarged its 35mm frame.
CAST and ART DEPARTMENT:
Mikhail Vartanov (Writer, Director, Cinematographer)
Tigran Mansuryan (Composer)
Karen Kurdiyan (Sound)