The Colour of Pomegranates (Special Edition) DVD
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Directed by Sergei Paradjanov
Produced in 1969
Main Language - Armenian with English subtitles
Countries & Regions - Russian Film
Sofiko Chiaureli, Melkon Aleksanyan, Vilen Galstyan, Giorgi Gegechkori, Onik Minasyan, Spartak Bagashvili
Sergei Paradjanov's celebrated masterpiece paints an astonishing portrait of the 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova. It's a unique, striking, beautiful achievement says Michael Bartlett.
Critic Gilbert Adair called it 'a diamond on fire'. The filmmakers of the New Iranian Cinema found its director an inspiration. For years, it became a mysterious Holy Grail for cinephiles. Now it's available on DVD.
Nominally based on the life of 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, the film is structured as a series of still lifes. In each one, the objects seem to pulsate with life, their colours vibrant, their textures sensible to touch. There are people in these images, but they move through them like automatons or mimes, enacting a ritual series of gestures, as in a dance or masque.
These striking tableaux are rich in symbolism, some of it arcane or deeply personal. Traditional motifs from painting – watch for the many significances of the colour red or of peacock feathers – combine to convey whole sensations, so that a shot of white lace being drawn across a conch chell becomes one of the most erotic in cinema. At other times, the eye is shocked by surreal visual epiphanies that communicate complex ideas exactly: a boy's education summed up by him lying amongst thousands of books drying in the sun, their pages flapping in the wind, or a soul's ascent to heaven by the peculiar sight of sheep lined up on a stone staircase.
Sayat Nova himself, a bard who spent most of his time in a monastery, was caught between a life dedicated to his faith and one dedicated to his muse, between piety and beauty, between the physical and the spiritual, just like this film. In that constant movement between the sacred and profane, and in its frontal staging, The Colour of Pomegranates resembles the work of Paradjanov's contemporary, Pasolini. It's also not averse to the innocent camera trickery we expect of Georges Melies. But ultimately, any comparison withers in the face of its unique achievement. It may be a cliché to say this, but there really is nothing else like it.
Sergei Paradjanov's celebrated, dreamlike masterpiece, The Colour of Pomegranates paints an astonishing portrait of the 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, the 'King of Song'. Paradjanov's aim was not a conventional biography but a cinematic expression of his work, resulting in an extraordinary visual poem. Key moments in his subject's life are illustrated through a series of exquisitely orchestrated tableaux filled with rich colour and stunning iconography, each scene a celluloid painting alive with stylised movement.
One of cinema's most revered and beautiful films, The Colour of Pomegranates is a unique and rewarding experience that haunts the memory long after viewing.
Publisher: Second Sight
Length: 70 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 29th August 2011
Cat No: 2NDVD3206
- Introduction by Writer and Fimmaker Daniel Bird
- The World is a Window: Making The Colour of Pomegranates - A New Documentary by Daniel Bird
- Memories of Sayat Nova
- Commentary by Levon Abrahamyan, Moderated by Daniel Bird
- New, improved subtitles.
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