The Color of Pomegranates
The Color of PomegranatesOriginal Title: Sayat nova
Director: Sergei Parajanov
Armenia | Armenian
Subtitles: Arabic and English
“Watching Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates, or Sayat Nova, is like opening a door and walking into another dimension, where time has stopped and beauty has been unleashed,' wrote Martin Scorsese on Parajanov’s masterpiece of film poetry, recently restored to its original glory by The Film Foundation. Ostensibly a biography of the 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, the film abandons all pretense of typical biography to instead embrace an ideal of sheer poetry, turning the screen into a rush of dreamlike images drawn from the writer’s own words. A knife over a pomegranate, a wall of open books whose pages turn in the wind and countless other strange, mesmeric tapestries unfold and emerge.
“Before all else it’s a cinematic experience,' continues Scorsese. “You come away remembering images, repeated expressive movements, costumes, objects, colors.' Born in Tblisi, Georgia, but of Armenian heritage, Parajanov was one of Soviet film’s greatest artists, and one of its most blacklisted dissidents. The Color of Pomegranates was banned for its paganist, “immoral' sensibilities and its proud display of Armenian culture. Parajanov was sentenced to five years in prison on unrelated charges; he served four years before being released, thanks to a worldwide protest, and died in 1990, having only been allowed to make one other film, The Legend of Suram Fortress. The Color of Pomegranates stands alone in film history.