The Resurgence of "The Color of Pomegranates": A Cinematic Masterpiece by Sergei Parajanov

News - 27 December 2023

The Color of Pomegranates, a film by Sergei Parajanov, was largely unknown until recently but is now heralded as a significant title in the realm of cinema. Released in 1968, the film faced obscurity for a long time due to the Soviet Union's ban on foreign distribution. However, this prohibition only added to the film's mystique, ultimately cementing its status as a beloved and respected masterpiece.

Parajanov's innovative approach to storytelling in The Color of Pomegranates sets it apart from conventional cinema. The film employs 'tableau vivants', or living paintings, to breathe life into the poems of Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova, also known as the King of Song. Rather than following a traditional narrative structure, the movie delves into Nova's inner world through his poetry, revealing his growth, love life, religious journey, and eventual demise in a visually stunning and poetic manner.

One of the key elements that makes The Color of Pomegranates a standout film is the multi-faceted role played by filmmaker Parajanov. In addition to directing and editing the movie, Parajanov also took on the responsibility of choreographing, designing costumes, and overseeing various other aspects of the production. The film's lead actress, Sofiko Chiaureli, masterfully portrays five different roles, blurring the lines between genders and challenging traditional notions of identity.

The influence of The Color of Pomegranates extends far beyond the realm of cinema, as evidenced by the admiration it has garnered from artists such as Madonna, Nicolas Jaar, and Lady Gaga. In Gaga's music video for her song "911", parallels can be drawn between her visual style and the aesthetic of Parajanov's work, showcasing a deep appreciation for the Armenian filmmaker's unique vision.Overall, The Color of Pomegranates stands as a testament to the power of creative storytelling and artistic innovation.

Despite facing challenges and obstacles in its initial release, the film has risen from obscurity to be celebrated as a timeless masterpiece that continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide. With its poetic visuals, multi-dimensional narrative, and thematic richness, The Color of Pomegranates remains a shining example of cinematic excellence that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.