|Index||6 reviews in total|
Paradjanov made four films for which he is best known: Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors and Color Of Pomegranates in the sixties; Legend Of Surami Fortress and Ashik Kerib in the eighties. In case you don't already know, between the sixties and the eighties he spent over a decade in a Soviet prison. I find this to be the strongest and most hypnotic one of the bunch, made soon after his release. One should take advantage of any opportunity to see these on the big screen.
In his first film since his release from the Gulag system, Paradjanov demonstrated that he was wounded, but not killed, that his soul didn't atrophy, and that he was still seeing in color. Needless to say, this is a visual masterpiece, as is everything that bears his name. Although his best works were either behind him or in his head, it is more of a testimony to the magnitude of his talent. Photographed in niello silver, "The Legend..." reflected Paradjanov's state of being-an aging and ailing artist, who have suffered, but, to some extent, lived to tell about it.
Paradjanov's sequel to THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES. This is more accessible than COLOR, more narrative driven, with a greater use of outside locations. It is still as obscure, with legends, allegories, characters and symbols all weaving into a culturally specific tapestry. It is not as jaw-droppingly gorgeous or formally astonishing as COLOR, and seems much more pessimistic. It is a story of exiles, poverty, serfdom, murder and the supernatural, with stories within stories, and an almost buoyant ending celebrating resistance and culture.
SURAM FORTRESS has a bit more narrative than some of Parajanov's films
but, as with the others, I still don't always understand what's going
on or why. Still, his very eccentricity, breaking every rule of
narrative and filmmaking, inspires me in my own work as a playwright
His use of striking, associative images -- powerful, even when they don't make literal sense -- recalls the great Tarkovsky, who does something similar in his films, in his own very personal style.
Parajanov, like Bresson -- another director who can fascinate and baffle me at the same time -- does everything differently from the way it's usually done, infuriating viewers expecting believable characters and comprehensible stories. With both directors, the results can be uneven, but at their best, they really inspire, stimulate, and get your creative juices flowing.
Bresson, Tarkovsky, and Parajanov prove you can truly try ANYTHING while following your own artistic vision. But, unlike some overpraised fraudulent directors, they are never pretentiously avant- garde for its own sake, phony, insincere, or "different" just to come across as cool, perverse, or faux-profound.
Parajanov and Bresson's boldly individual styles embolden me to be fresher, more original, and think outside of the box in my own work.
Way. Search of essence. This world against faith. Death. And the way is not over. Sacrifice as soul of a city. End of circle. Gift of reconciliation. Result - movie as amber sea.Every wave - part of a ladder. Every beach - skin for ambiguous dreams. Every boat - bridge to understand roots of gestures and happiness. An experience and golden peach. As each film by Paradjanov. Basic truth and force of love. As parts of a fairy tale in which end is more than happy. It is fly of soul, leaf of peace, finish of a long trip, answer to old questions, testimony of innocence and rain for new crops.The death of Zurab is same than Manole's Ana sacrifice. The hero is only crumb of huge bread of saints and ancestors. His body is proof. For motherland love. For God sage, For things who must exist behind particular lives . For lost dramas. A film about religion as reflection of a family history
Tonight's film course film was The Legend of the Suram Fortress and
during its 87 minute running time it managed to quickly jump into my
top five most difficult films of all time. That's difficult to watch;
films so different to everything else that you're seeing something
totally alien. A brief synopsis would be: a group of Georgians are
trying to build a fortress to defend themselves from invaders, but
every time they are about to put on the finishing touches, for no
readily apparent reasons it collapses. So they go and see a fortune
teller who advises them that if they want to get the fortress to stay
standing, they need to find a youth, a tall blonde blue eyed boy to be
buried into one of the walls during the construction and his presence
will ensure that the construction job will be completed smoothly. And
sure enough in those closing moments there he is gladly being smeared
in cement and eggs, giggling as he's buried alive, with only his mother
It actually a fairly simple story. But the director, Sergo Paradjanov, working in Soviet Georgia in 1984, not too long after leaving a fifteen year jail term, doesn't follow any of the film making rules we are used to. There are very few close ups. Very often the action we need to be following is hidden in the bottom left hand corner of a landscape shot, extra-ordinarily easy to miss. There are very few close ups and at times its hard to tell whose doing what to whom and why. Every now and then the film goes off on digressions which have no relevance to the main plot and generally serve to confuse the viewer. The music is utterly mad, with found sounds, on screen instruments and church organ dropped in seemingly at random. At times when nothing seems to be happening, someone will break into a jig, almost playing time until the next scene comes along. But infuriatingly there is an obvious cinematic voice behind it all so you're compelled to try and understand the message whatever it is. One of those times when your eyes are glued to the screen simply because you can't believe what you're seeing.
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