Close Up

10 March - 9 April 2019: The Colour of Pomegranates


The Colour of Pomegranates
Sergei Parajanov, 1969, 78 min
Armenian & Georgian with English subtitles
Introduced by Nouritza Matossian

A breath-taking fusion of poetry, ethnography, and cinema, Sergei Parajanov’s masterwork overflows with unforgettable images and sounds. In a series of tableaux that blend the tactile with the abstract, The Colour of Pomegranates revives the splendours of Armenian culture through the story of the eighteenth-century troubadour Sayat-Nova, charting his intellectual, artistic, and spiritual growth through iconographic compositions rather than traditional narrative. The film’s tapestry of folklore and metaphor departed from the realism that dominated the Soviet cinema of its era, leading authorities to block its distribution, with rare underground screenings presenting it in a restructured form.

Hakob Hovnatanyan
Sergei Parajanov, 1967, 10 min

With a playful associative montage, Parajanov offers an overview of portrait paintings by Hakob Hovnatanyan, the "Raphael of Tiflis". Combining sights and sounds from both Hovnatanyan’s paintings and 19th century Tbilisi, Parajanov’s short documentary can be seen as a direct precursor to The Colour of Pomegranates.

The Colour of Pomegranates was restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Cineteca di Bologna, in association with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia and Gosfilmofond of Russia, and funded by the Material World Charitable Foundation.

Hakob Hovnatanyan, restoration produced by Daniel Bird in association with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia, Fixafilm Poland and Kino Klassika Foundation.

Part of our Close-Up on Sergei Parajanov