THE LEGEND OF THE SURAM FORTRESS (Sergei Parajanov, Dodo Abashidze, 1984)

“Nothing hurts like the truth, but a lie is always welcome.” — a generalization in this film that at the same time points to Parajanov’s Soviet experience How does Sergei Parajanov do it? How does he create films that are elemental and austere, yet dazzling and richly ornamented? Formalism, stylization, the employment of folklore, which […]

SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS (Sergei Parajanov, 1964)

Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov’s tribute to Ukrainian mentor Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Tini zabutykh predkiv draws upon weirder, denser visual material than does the master’s beautiful piece of Ukrainian folklore, Zvenigora (1928). I find Parajanov’s film remarkable but also, because I can only imperfectly follow it, frustrating.      There is a melodramatic plot in the Carpathian Mountains a […]