Sergey Paradzhanov, Sergey Paradjanov, Sergey Parajanov

www.parajanov.com

PARAJANOV
 
(1924-1990)

Sergei Parajanov's unmistakable films are rarely watched, often admired, and usually regarded as some of the most important movies of the 20th century.

While equally important, Sergei Paradjanov is significantly less known than his peers Fellini, Tarkovsky, Antonioni, Godard, though, at various times, these great filmmakers have called Parajanov a "genius," a "master" and a "magician."

The phenomenal child, Sergei Iosifovich Parajanov, was born on the 9th of January 1924 in an artistic family of the Armenian merchant Iosif (Hovsep) Parajanian and Siranush Bejanov (Bejanian), in the city of Tiflis, Soviet Union (USSR), now Tbilisi, Georgia. His childhood was filled with enourmous beauty.

In 1942, Sergei Parajanov graduated from the high school and entered the institute of the railway transport but left to study music and dance and finally, in 1945, came to Moscow's prestigious film school (VGIK). His professors were Igor Savchenko, a well-known Soviet director ("Garmon" 1934), and later the great Alexadner Dovzhenko ("Earth" 1930).

Sergei Paradjanov was arrested for the first time in 1947 and spent several months in a Georgian prison on charges of homosexuality. He married a young Tatar girl in 1950 but she was murdered in 1951 by her relatives for marrying a foreigner. Prior to that, in 1948 -1949, Sergei Parajanov worked on 2 films by Igor Savchenko ("Third Blow" and "Taras Shevchenko"), then with Vladimir Broun (Brown) on ("Maksimka" 1951). In 1952, Paradjanov made his first short film Moldavian Tale and remade it with Yakov Bazelyan into a feature length film Andriesh in 1955.

His second marriage was in 1956 to a young Ukrainian girl Svetlana Ivanovna Sherbatiuk who gave birth to Parajanov's only child, Suren, in 1958. A year earlier, Paradjanov made 3 documentary films: Dumka, Natalia Uzhvy and Golden Hands, the comedy The First Lad was released in 1958, which was followed by the 1961 Ukrainian Rhapsody and the 1962 The Flower on the Stone ... the divorce came the same year, however they remained very close.


It was the Ukraine where Parajanov created the film that brought him the world fame - his Ukrainian masterpiece Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964).

The success and the importance of Sergei Paradjanov's revolutionary film was compared to Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 classic Battleship Potemkin. Parajanov shot the film in the Hutsul (Gutsul) dialect of the Ukrainian language (TINI ZABUTIKH PREDKIV) and won countless awards, including the Grand Prix of the Mar Del Plata Film Festival, as well as awards in Italy, Greece, Spain etc. (Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz, and numerous other books and sources, incorrectly state that Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors received the British Academy Award. According to the official statement obtained by Martiros Vartanov, the film hadn't won or been nominated).

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (the most important Ukrainian film since the silent movies of Dovzhenko) was full of religious and folkloric themes and didn't conform to the dominant "social realism" of the Soviet cinema. Sergei Paradjanov was blacklisted and his next film the Kiev Frescoes was stopped and banned in 1965.


In 1966 Parajanov arrived in Armenia and in 1967 completed the docu- mentary Hakop Hovnatanian (1967). That same year he met Mikhail Vartanov who began the shooting of the The Color of Armenian Land (1968) on the set of Sergei Paradjanov's absolute masterpiece, the jewel of Armenian and world cinema, the magnificent Sayat Nova. Due to the film's non-conformity to the Soviet ideology, Paradjanov was forced to change and rename it into the Color of Pomegranates and then, in 1969, Soviet director Sergei Yutkevich re-edited and made the censored Russian language version of the film (Tsvet Granata) - regardless it was banned and shelved for a very long time.

Sergei Parajanov's screenplays of "Intermezzo", "Ara the Beautiful", "Demon" and the "Miracle of Odense", which was co-written by Viktor Shklovsky, were all rejected.

On the 17th of December 1973, Sergei Parajanov was arrested in Kiev (Kyiv) and in 1974 was sentenced to 5 years in the Ukrainian prison Paradjanov continued to create his art even there and it helped him survive. He made madly fascinating collages, drawings and wrote shocking and unbelievable letters full of wisdom.

[Louis Aragon]

The world's prominent artists, filmmakers and activists campaigned for his release from the camps. French poet Louis Aragon personally asked the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev to release Sergei Paradjanov from the prison. On the 31st of December 1977 he became free and returned to his home town of Tbilisi, Georgia, however remained blacklisted but continued to create art out of everything in his way and all around him.




In 1982 Sergei Parajanov was arrested once again on the charges of bribery of an official and spent almost a year in a Georgian prison.


After 15 years of unemployment, in 1984, with the help of the local elite, Paradjanov was allowed to direct Legend of Suram Fortress, his Georgian masterpiece. The picture proved that Sergei Parajanov's talent and his unique way of expression were not affected by the long absence from the cinema. The worldwide screenings of the award-winning film were followed by the first exhibition of Paradjanov's art works that was held in Tbilisi in 1985.


In 1986, Parajanov made the documentary Arabesques on the Pirosmani Theme but his friend, of one the greatest masters of cinema, Andrei Tarkovsky, who considered Paradjanov a genius, died in Paris, France on the 28th of December.



In 1988, in the memory of Tarkovsky, Parajanov created Ashik Kerib, his Azerbaijani masterpiece based on the work of the Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov, and won the European Film Academy's Felix Award.



In 1989, Parajanov began his favorite The Confession - a "film (that) can only be created by a director born in 1924 in Tiflis" - were the words of the first page of the screenplay.

Sergei Iosifovich Parajanov left us on the 20th of July 1990...

The Pantheon in Armenia's capital treasures the spirit and the statue of the great Maestro, along with Komitas, Aram Khachaturian and William Saroyan.

[John Updike]

In 1991, Armenia built and opened the Parajanov Museum, which features the collection of the artworks and belongings from his legendary flat in Tbilisi that welcomed Marchello Mastroianni, John Updike, Vladimir Vysotsky, Andrei Tarkovsky and countless others.



In 1992 Russian Academy of Cinema Arts, awarded the country's highest film honor to the influential Parajanov: The Last Spring, which was started and banned in 1960s, and only completed in 1990s. It contains the footage of the first film about Sergei Paradjanov and his last unfinished film The Confession.


On the 9th of January, on the occasion of Sergei Parajanov's 77th birthday, Parajanov.com was created as a humble present to the creator of some of the all time greatest motion pictures...

SERGEI PARADJANOV FILMS:
           
THE CONFESSION 1989-1990
Unfinished, autobiographical film, also known as 
"Ispoved" or "Khostovanutiun", original negative survives
in PARAJANOV: THE LAST SPRING.
			  
ASHIK KERIB 1988
A fairy tale based on a theme by Russian poet Mikhail 
Lermontov.

ARABESQUES ON THE PIROSMANI THEME 1985/86
The world of Pirosmani and his paintings through the eyes
of Maestro.

LEGEND OF SURAM FORTRESS 1984
Based on a beautiful Georgian legend.

CHILDREN TO KOMITAS 1968
Parajanov made this documentary for UNICEF but it has been
apparentely lost.

SAYAT NOVA or THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES 1968
Parajanov's masterpiece about Armenian poet Sayat Nova. 

HAKOP HOVNATANIAN 1967
Documentary about Armenian painter.

KIEV FRESCOES 1966
Unfinished, banned film, features an appearance by 
Suren Parajanov

SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS 1964
Ukrainian Romeo and Juliet love story, based on 
a book by Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi.

FLOWER ON THE STONE 1962
A story of a little town and a sudden war 
between religion and politics.

UKRAINIAN RHAPSODY 1961
A simple girl becomes a famous singer.  

GOLDEN HANDS 1960
About Ukrainian folk art.

NATALIA UZHVY 1959
A documentary about Natalia Uzhviy.

THE FIRST LAD 1958
A comedy about love and passion in a village.
Aka "The Top Guy".

DUMKA 1958
Live music concert.

ANDRIESH 1954
A fairy tale, directed by Parajanov and Yakov Bazelyan.

MOLDAVIAN TALE
Parajanov's student film, aka "Moldavskaya Skazka",
was lost.
 
SCRIPTS and PROJECTS :

"The Confession"
"Ara the Beautiful" 
"David of Sasun"
"The Martyrdom of Shushanik" 
"The Treasures at Mount Ararat"
"Intermezzo"
"Demon"
"Miracle of Odense"
"Golden Edge"
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