The Color of Pomegranates

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The Color of Pomegranates
The Color of Pomegranates cover art.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Sergei Parajanov
Written by Sergei Parajanov
Sayat-Nova (poems)
Starring Sofiko Chiaureli
Melkon Aleksanyan
Vilen Galstyan
Giorgi Gegechkori
Narrated by Armen Dzhigarkhanyan
Music by Tigran Mansuryan
Cinematography Suren Shakhbazyan
Edited by Sergei Parajanov
M. Ponomarenko
Sergei Yutkevich
Distributed by Cosmos Film (France)
Artkino Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • 1969 (1969)
Running time
78 mins. (Armenia)
73 mins. (USSR release)
Country Soviet Union
Language Armenian, Georgian

The Color of Pomegranates (Armenian: Նռան գույնը) is a 1969 Soviet film written and directed by Sergei Parajanov. Five minutes were cut (mainly due to religious censorship) for release in the Soviet Union beyond Armenia. It was refused a license for export outside of the Soviet Union and was withdrawn after a two months circulation in the Soviet Union. It made the Top 10 list in Cahiers du cinéma[1] in 1982 and Top 100 in Time Out.[2]


The Color of Pomegranates is a biography of the Armenian ashug Sayat-Nova (King of Song) that attempts to reveal the poet's life visually and poetically rather than literally. The film is presented in a form of static tableaux and depicts the poet's coming of age, discovery of the female form, falling in love, entering a monastery and dying, all framed through both Sergei Parajanov's imagination and Sayat Nova's poems. Actress Sofiko Chiaureli notably plays six roles in the film, both male and female.[3] According to Frank Williams, Paradjanov's film celebrates the survival of South Caucasus culture in the teeth of oppression and persecution: "There are specific images that are highly charged — blood-red juice spilling from a cut pomegranate into a cloth and forming a stain in the shape of the boundaries of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia; dyers lifting hanks of wool out of vats in the colours of the national flag, and so on".[4]

The director had claimed his inspiration was "the Armenian illuminated miniatures. I wanted to create that inner dynamic that comes from inside the picture, the forms and the dramaturgy of colour."[5] Parajanov once made a speech in Minsk in which he asserted that the Armenian public very likely did not understand The Color of Pomegranates, but then said that people "are going to this picture as to a holiday".[6]



Filmed near St.Jonn church at Ardvi village, Lori Province, Armenia.

Critical reception[edit]

Filmmaker Mikhail Vartanov has said, "besides the film language suggested by Griffith and Eisenstein, the world cinema has not discovered anything revolutionarily new until The Color of Pomegranates, not counting the generally unaccepted language of the Andalusian Dog by Buñuel".[7] According to Michelangelo Antonioni, "Parajanov’s Color of Pomegranates is of a stunningly perfect beauty. Parajanov, in my opinion, is one of best film directors in the world."[8]


The Color of Pomegranates was referenced in the films Peter Greenaway in Indianapolis (1997) and Erased Faces II (2006).[citation needed]

The Color of Pomegranates was made reference to in Madonna's Bedtime Story music video (1994). Her later work with Steven Klein in 2003 would also make reference to this film.

Clips from the movie are used in a music video for the song "God Is God" by the musical group Juno Reactor and later also by the Iranian band Kiosk.[9]

Clips from the movie are also used in the music video for the song "Love Is A Silent Thief" by the Georgian-born singer Katie Melua.[10]

In 2015, Nicolas Jaar made an alternate soundtrack for the film, which he released on YouTube and on his own record label (Other People).[11][12]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]