MOSCOW (RT)—The rollercoaster life of Armenian film director Sergey Parajanov is worthy of a gripping movie plot. Adored by Fellini and Truffaut for his edgy and flamboyant films, he spent years locked in a GULAG for speaking out against the stiffness of the Soviet regime in his movies.
He was a man of mystery, of scandal and tragedy. But no matter how surrealistic his films – his real life was even more so. A new multi-national co-production of his life is in the works directed by a man who knew him.
The film will take viewers to the places most loved by Parajanov – where he worked and spent most of his life: Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and France. It’s to be directed by fellow Armenian Serge Avedikian, who won the best short film prize at Cannes in 2010. He couldn’t say no when offered the project having met and interviewed Parajanov in 1984. Avedikian says it’s as if Parajanov “prompted” him to agree to tell the tale of a free man who created his own world in defiance of the real one.
“Charming but unbearable,” according to his second wife, Sergey Parajanov defied the authorities for the sake of truth and good humour. When invited to play Karl Marx in a Soviet movie he pretended to nit-pick the thick beard. That was the end of his acting career.
Sergei Parajanov was born in 1924 in Georgia, but most of his works were created in Ukraine. He moved there after the tragic death of his first wife. She had been thrown under a train by her own brothers – for marrying the penniless Parajanov who couldn’t pay the traditional ransom for her.
Parajanov was a true eccentric his dinner plate had to be arranged in a specific way, and there were rules for putting a cup on a table. His fantasy knew no borders – and so did his movies. He came to prominence in 1964 with the “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” – a story of a Ukrainian Romeo and Juliette in which fantasy and traditions take over from realism. Described as ‘the greatest movie ever created’ it caused Parajanov to fall from grace with the authorities. They forced him to re-edit his next surrealistic creation – “The colour of pomegranates” – a story of a medieval poet, told through a magic mix of colour, plasticity, music, it talks about love and criticised authorities in a disguised way.
His politically incorrect jokes didn’t go down well with the Soviet authorities, and he was accused of homosexual rape and spent five years in a prison Gulag. It was only the intervention of world famous film makers like Fellini, Truffaut, and Antonioni got him released.
After a fifteen year break he got back to work in 1983 creating his masterpiece: “Legend of Suram Fortress”.
Sergey Parajanov died of cancer in 1990 in Armenia leaving his final movie “The Confession” unfinished. “My whole life I was motivated by jealousy”, Parajanov once said, “I used to be jealous of beautiful people – and became charming, I was jealous of smart people and became unpredictable.” Some say, he might have been jealous of the talented people – and became a genius.