Cinema and artworks of Sergei Paradjanov influenced and inspired countless filmmakers and artists but this fact is not always acknowledged.

For example, clearly influenced by Sergei Parajanov is an Iranian film GABBEH by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, which received "Two Thumbs Up" from Siskel & Ebert and played at the Cannes Film Festival. (Mohsen Makhmalbaf later recevied the Parajanov Award in Armenia).

The influence of both Sergei Parajanov and Andrei Tarkovsky is, less obviously, apparent in THE CELL with Jennifer Lopez by Indian filmmaker Tarsem Singh, which received an Oscar nomination. Tarsem Singh also made an MTV video "Sweet Lullaby" for Deep Forest in which he paid homage to scenes from several Paradjanov masterpieces. Tarsem Singh reportedly said "I showed Paradjanov to Kodak, and they said, `That's not the kind of thing the new generation would like.' Now, I get calls from ad agencies every week saying, `We want you to do another commercial just like this.'"

Academy Award-winning brothers Joel and Ethan Coen directed a TV commercial in 2002 for H & R Block which, in our opinion, was influenced by the famous scene with books from Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece Sayat Nova.

Madonna's Bedtime Story (MTV) video, directed by Mark Romanek, also paid homage to the cinema of Sergei Paradjanov. Romanek restaged many scenes from Sayat Nova or The Color of Pomegranates.

Juno Reactor's God is God video is entirely edited from the footage of SAYAT NOVA.

Japanese musician Susumi Yokota has a song titled The Color of Pomegranate on her record The Boy and the Tree.

Brazilian fashion designer Alexandre Herchcovitch has created clothing inspired by Sergei Paradjanov. He showcased it during the Sao Paolo Fashion Week in January 2010.

Paris-born Romanian filmmaker Michel Ionascu has recently completed an interesting independent film, LE MANIFESTE DE L'APPOGGIATURE, and according to the filmmaker it was, in part, inspired by Maestro Parajanov. We thought our readers would enjoy reading about the THE APPOGGIATURA MANIFEST.



Young Gabriel rests in an old railway workshop when he hears a noise coming from nowhere. Guided by a magical golden star, he meets again his elder sister Clara who is coming back from a very long journey in the miraculous waters of the ocean. After remaining the sad and painful souvenir of their poor mother, their take advantage of the happiness of their unexpected reunion.

During this time, the railroader Lantier leads three colleagues working under the very imposing white architecture of a gigantic railroad bridge. The railroaders prostrate themselves in front of the marvelous engine which is the High Speed Train. Staying one moment alone to find the helmet he forgot, Lantier meets by chance an artificial figure without arms but strangely human. The Black Manikin speaks about poetry and life without astonishing Lantier. They speak together as if they have always known each other.

Clara and Gabriel pursue their journey in the dry and warm desert. Three young Indian girls show them the way to follow. They overall confirm that both have to be on their guard against their own father.

In the darkness of destroyed building, Lantier and his three comrades dispute about political themes, sometimes serious ones, sometimes frivolous ones. Each one is reading his own newspaper and keeps his opinion gently criticizing those of the neighbor.

Clara and Gabriel are warmly welcome by Zaļa and Nazim in the middle of a great desert area. The ground is completely crackled by the dryness. Nazim takes advantage of the situation to repeat to his friends what he thinks about Art and Creation, and Money and Merchandizing...

In the workshop, Lantier continues his discussion with his work comrades. Every one defends his own conviction with force. This time, it is a joke improvised competition which divides them. Lantier is disappointed by their miss of political consciousness. Their debates are stopped by a strange noise. Clara and Gabriel stroll about the workshop. Lantier and his colleagues attempt to surprise them.

Clara and Gabriel escape towards the railway tunnels. The railroaders run after them but Clara use of all her magical powers to eliminate her enemies. After an Sumo struggle between Clara and Lantier, the railroader’s chief is got prisoner. Clara leads him strongly on a terrace which overhangs the workshop. Clara undertakes a semblance of judgment. She condemns Lantier to repeat the definition of the word Appoggiatura and to understand its meaning. His meaning for life is to be on the borderline and in the middle, to stretch towards the unbalanced balance. Lantier ends up being convinced.

Clara and Lantier become friends and meet Caesar who presents himself as « the only survivor of the Armenian genocide ». Lantier agrees to go with Clara in her warm desert to share with her what she best sherries, her magical world. By way of reconciling, Clara offers a painted egg to Lantier who gives her a model electrical locomotive. Real and Imaginary bring each other their power.

Music and dance unite them for the Best.

Director’s Intention

The Appoggiatura is an musical term symbolized by a little crossed note. Its definition is the following one : Expressive ornament introducing during a short lapse of time a dissonance whose effect is to enforce the time on which it is written.

I would like to use this artistic reference to make a parable, to describe a way of life, a way of thinking, to illustrate an inside vision of things, a personal and intimate approach of the world: to be at the same time on the borderline and in motion towards the center, to be outside and also straight in the inside.

In another way, I would like to speak about that deep struggle, about this permanent tension, irresistible and resolvedless, between marginality and normality, between the individual and the community.

We all are made from one source and another. This has to be recognized by ourselves, reassemble and put in movement to create something higher and stronger. What’s for? To built itself and progress by the way.

So Le Manifeste de l’Appoggiature treats of the opposition and the closeness between two forces we could called Real and Imaginary. Of course, it is not supported by a classical script like a feature film but translates freely a feeling, an idea, an impression. The Seventh Art needs to develop its own language. From my point of view, it is not a illustrated literature.

Le Manifeste de l’Appoggiature carries several personal references who will first fight against each other before unite together. We can mention on one side Jean Cocteau (The Orphic Testament) , Sergueï Paradjanov (his movies, his collages), Panaït Istrati (his characters, his adventurous life, his humanism), the magic and the mystery of Oriental culture and on the other side Emile Zola, The Human Beast , the railroaders world, the materialism of the West.

At last, rationality and unrationality will be nearer, will mixed up each other and give each other something new.

Le Manifeste de l’Appoggiature utilizes a playful style tinted of humor and even self derision. On the visual side, the movie lets a great place for colors, clothes, objects, to the gesture, accessories, scenery (locations and landscapes), to the symbolic. And overall to music and sounds.

Therefore, it is obvious that the movie is looking for expressing the painful and enriching encounter of my different origins and values. But beyond, it is a proposal of a positive vision of the life (Weltanschauung as say the Germans) valuable at individual level as at the collective one.

The Appoggiatura is the perfect illustration of the contradictions and the uniqueness in work inside us. And Cinema is this Hard to Pick Up Object described by Jean Cocteau and filmed by Sergueï Paradjanov.

Michel Ionascu

Michel IONASCU is born in 1953 in the suburbs of Paris. In 1969 his father offered him a super-8 camera to film his return in his country, Romania.

In 1978, he realised several documentaries in South America to describe the reality of the Human Rights in Nicaragua (Nicaragua Sandinista, 1981 ), in Peru (Acomayo : countrymen or terrorists ?, 1983 and Titicaca, 1984) , in the country of Pinochet (Chile, a land for dreaming …, 1985) in collaboration with the production unit Audiopradif.

From 1985, after a year at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français, Michel Ionascu went through fiction movies which allow him to create a personal style: a thriller (A Strange Day , 1985), a fiction (The Witness, 1988) and a portrait of Missak Manouchian, hero of the French Resistance (The Blood of the Poet, 1989 ) bought by the Vidéothèque de Paris.

In 1990, with the Arscipro film school, he directed a short film ( The General ) in which he wrote the script and the dialogues from Garcia Marquez’s book. The same year, he is sound engineer on the shooting, in Tunisia, of Pablo Cesar’s second feature film (Equinoccio, the Roses Garden).

In 1995, he is one of the creators of the Railmen and Cinema Association called « Those of the Track  » which honour president is none other than Henri Alekan himself. The Association gives every year two prices, the legendary Golden Rails (Short and feature films) at the Cannes Film Festival in the International Critical Week.

Then, he shots two short films: the first one about the experience of the amateur and familial cinema ( The unexpected Track , 1996 ), the other one tells the history of a railmen group who love cinema in the Cannes Film Festival (The Search of the Golden Track , 1998). In 1999, after being assistant filmmaker on various short films (The Autorisation by Emmanuel Simon… ), he directed a short film in 35m/m called Extreme Hasard and then The Appoggiatura Manifest in 2004, a thirty four minutes running time fiction film with the Rumanian actress Rona Hartner in the main role.

Michel Ionascu is also Doctor of the French university of Paris in cinema. His thesis is published in 2001 by L’Harmattan (Railmen and movie). He is the author of novels and poetry (Les Découvertes intérieures) and wrote various papers about cinema and working class.

Copyright © 2004 Parajanov.com

Sergei Paradjanov