Close Up

9 - 13 March 2019: The Legend of Suram Fortress


The Legend of Suram Fortress
Sergei Parajanov & Dodo Abashidze, 1985, 87 min, 35mm
Georgian with English subtiltes

"Fantastic visual worlds of exquisite beauty open out in front of the observer in the severe framings of the opulently designed tableaus used by Parajanov to narrate an archaic Georgian legend: to defend themselves from enemy attacks, the inhabitants of a remote mountain region try to build a fortress. According to a prophecy however, the construction can only be successfully completed if a young warrior allows himself to be built into one of the walls while still alive. The young Surab volunteers for the task. Parajanov’s penultimate film – a reflection on the landscape, its inhabitants and their relationship towards those in power – was made in Georgia, after a 15-year filmmaking ban and lengthy periods in prison and work camps." – Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art

Arabesques on the Pirosmani Theme
Sergei Parajanov, 1985, 21 min

A documentary film about the great Georgian outsider artist Niko Pirosmani. By filming the detail and themes of his colourful paintings, Parajanov creates an engaging and mysterious portrait of Georgia itself. This later work is often seen as a companion piece to Hakob Hovnatanyan, since it also takes its subject from a famous painter.

Arabesques on the Pirosmani Theme, digital print courtesy of the Georgian National Archives.

Part of our Close-Up on Sergei Parajanov