Moscow?s Week of Parajanov

MOSCOW (Armenpress)–A week dedicated to commemorate what would have been influential Armenian filmmaker Sergey Parajanov’s 80th birthday–and to celebrate the great film director–artist–and sculptor’s art began in Moscow on March 23 with an exhibit of items from the Parajanov Museum–including his films–unique art collages–posters from his films–videos about his work–and photographs by Yuri Mechitov.

Beauty as the highest value and truth as a creative principle were the most important components of Parajanov’s art–which gave birth to a legend that became known to the world as Parajanov’s film.

Born and raised in a traditional Armenian family in Tbilisi–Parajanov lived his childhood very close to the tight Armenian community. These images of childhood were later reflected in his work "Colors of Pomegranate."

In 1945–with the end of the Second World War–Parajanov moved to Moscow and enrolled in the Institute of Cinematography. In 1952–he moved to Kiev–Ukraine–to start working at Dovzhenko studios. After a number of short films and side projects–Parajanov finally started working on his first movie–"The Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors," which turned out to be one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of cinematography.

In a few years–Parajanov moved to his true homeland Armenia–and began to work at the "Armenfilm" studio–where some of his short movies such as "Hakob Hovnatyan" were born–and where he screened his biggest masterpiece: "Color of Pomegranate." Though the film’s cinematography won him international notoriety–the movie received no attention from the Soviet authorities. After forcefully cutting 20 minutes out of the movie and re-releasing the short version for the Soviet audience–Parajanov said: "My masterpiece no longer exists."

It was the "Color of Pomegranate" that sparked the chain of events in his life. Soviet censures did not particularly appreciate the numerous religious images portrayed in the movie. Subsequently–a number of his screenplays were rejected and he was later imprisoned under false charges–and sent to the Gulag–one of the most abhorrent concentration camps in Russia.

He was released after a number of years as a result of global protests by artists. Penniless–he moved back to Georgia in 1977–only to be imprisoned again–but this time without a trial.

His work–"The Legend of the Souram Fortress" was completed in 1986; he began work on "Ashik Kerib" the following year. Though both films became world-renowned masterpieces–receiving a number of awards at movie festivals–Parajanov did not get to see them. After undergoing treatment in France for lung cancer–he passed away in 1989–in Yerevan.

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