80th Birthday Celebration for Parajanov

Armenian Art History Research & Educational Association (AAHREA) celebrates life and work of filmmaker with reception/dinner–and month-long exhibit "Sergei Parajanov: A Celebration After Life" HOLLYWOOD (AAHREA/Hollywood Entertainment Museum)–To commemorate what would have been influential filmmaker Sergei Parajanov’s 80th birthday–The Armenian Art History Research & Educational Association is staging a birthday celebration Friday–January 9–at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum–and presenting a month-long film screening of a series of movies by and about the iconic director who was blacklisted and repeatedly imprisoned by the Soviet Union for his controversial works.

Special guests at the fete that features a private reception and dinner–include Zaven Sargsyan–director of the Parajanov Museum in Yerevan; Mikhail Vardanov–director of the documentary "Sergei Parajanov: The Last Spring," and a close friend and compatriot of the filmmaker; and photographer Yuri Mechitov.

Tickets for the celebration–which begins at 7 PM–range from $75 to $150–and include the opportunity to participate in a private tour of the exhibition–led by Sargsyan and Hollywood Entertainment Museum curator Jan-Chrisopher Horak. For reservations and details–call (323) 823-9352.

THE EXHIBIT The West Coast premiere of "Sergei Parajanov: A Celebration After Life," will run through February 2–2004–at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.

The exhibit–much of which comes directly from the Parajanov Museum in Yerevan–Armenia–spotlights the late artist’s films and unique art collages–including many pieces created while he was a political prisoner. The exhibit also features posters from his films–videos about his work–and photographs by Yuri Mechitov–who directed several of Parajanov’s films.

Parajanov daringly mixed myth–history–folklore and aestheticism into surrealistic montages during a dangerous period in Soviet history and was lionized by such film directors as Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni as one of the world’s greatest filmmakers from the 1960s to 1980s.

"Sergei Parajanov’s groundbreaking use of startling visual effects blended with religious and folkloric iconography gained him notoriety around the art world as well as among the authorities of the old Soviet Union–which only allowed art that glorified the principles of socialist realism," said Jan-Christopher Horak–curator of Hollywood Entertainment Museum.

Parajanov gained worldwide attention for his film Shadow of our Forgotten Ancestors (1964)–a tragic love story celebrating Ukrainian folk culture–which led to his arrest for so-called Ukrainian nationalism. But it was his highly abstract The Color of Pomegranates (1968) about Armenian poet Sayat Nova that so infuriated the Soviet authorities–they sentenced him in 1974 to five years in a labor prison camp for illegal trafficking in religious icons–incitement to suicide and homosexuality.

During his time at the prison camp–he was able to create fascinating collages of wood–metal–paper–colored glass–photographs and other items; themes dealt with mortality–despair–religion–sexuality–friendship and politics.

A worldwide campaign lead by French film director Louis Aragon–and American novelist John Updike swayed the government to release him after serving four years. But–he was arrested again in 1982 on fabricated charges and served another 11 months before finally being found innocent. As his films have become more available in the US since his death in 1990–his reputation among America’s filmmakers has grown significantly.

The museum is open everyday–except Wednesdays–11 AM – 6 PM. Admission is $8.75 for adults; $5.50 for seniors; $4.50 for students; $4 for ages 5-12; and free to Museum members and children under five. Located one block west of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in the Hollywood Galaxy complex–parking is off Sycamore Ave. For more information call (323) 465-7900 or visit www.hollywoodmuseum.com.

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