Film: Today marks 95th birthday of renowned filmmaker Sergei Parajanov

Panorama, Armenia
Jan 9 2019
Culture 11:20 09/01/2019 Armenia

Today, January 9, marks the 95th birthday anniversary of renowned Soviet Armenian film director and scriptwriter Sergei Parajanov.

Admirers of Parajanov’s art will visit Komitas Pantheon in Yerevan at 1pm to pay tribute to one of the greatest art figures of the 20th century, Director of Sergei Parajanov House-Museum Zaven Sargsyan told, adding a gathering at the museum is scheduled later on Wednesday.

Sergei Parajanov or Paradjanov (born Sarkis Paradjanian; 1924-1990) was one of the greatest directors of Soviet cinema. Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, to an Armenian family, his work reflected the ethnic diversity of the Caucusus where he was raised.

His first major work was Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), which earned him an international reputation for its rich use of costume and color, and its whimsical portrayal of rural life. Possibly his greatest work, The Color of Pomegranates (1969), described the life of the Armenian poet Sayat Nova. The film angered the Soviet authorities, who claimed that it evoked nationalist sentiment.

Claiming that Parajanov promoted homosexuality, the government arrested him in 1973 and sentenced him to five years in a labor camp. A large number of prominent artists, writers and filmmakers protested his sentence, but Parajanov was only released four years later, in large part due to the efforts of the French surrealist Louis Aragon. He was banned for making films for many years afterwards, when he was living in Tbilisi, but he was allowed to make The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984), which captured much of the color of his earlier work.

He managed to direct three more films before he died of cancer in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1990. A house was built for him in Yerevan which was completed shortly after his death, but which now houses all his belongings and has been turned into the Parajanov Museum. 

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