The Legend of Suram Fortress

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The Legend of Suram Fortress
Directed by Sergei Parajanov
Produced by Gruziya-film
Written by Vaja Gigashvili
Daniel Chonkadze (book)
Starring Leila Alibegashvili
Zurab Kipshidze
Dodo Abashidze
Sofiko Chiaureli
Levan Uchaneishvili
Music by Jansug Kakhidze
Cinematography Yuri Klimenko
Release date(s)
  • 1984 (1984)
Running time 88 minutes
Country Soviet Union/Georgian SSR/Azerbaijan SSR
Language Georgian

The Legend of the Suram Fortress (Georgian: ამბავი სურამის ციხისა) is a 1984 film directed by Georgian SSR-born Soviet-Armenian director Sergei Parajanov, his first film after 15 years of censorship in the Soviet Union, a film stylistically linked with his earlier The Color of Pomegranates (1968): The film consists in a series of tableaux; once again minimal dialogue is used; the film abounds in surreal, almost oneiric power.

Plot[edit]

The story is a retelling of a well-known Georgian folk-tale brought into written literature by the 19th-century writer Daniel Chonkadze.

Durmishkhan is a serf freed by his master. Now, he has to buy the freedom of his lover Vardo to marry her. He leaves his land and encounters a merchant named Osman Agha who tells his story. He was born a serf named Nodar Zalikashvili. After he had lost his mother due to his master's cruelty, he killed his master, fled, and embraced Islam to avoid persecution. Durmishkhan now starts to work for Osman Agha and marries another woman, who gives birth to a boy named Zurab. Meanwhile Vardo becomes a fortune teller. Osman Agha leaves his trade to Durmishkhan and converts to Christianity. In a dream a group of Muslims kill him for being a murtad.

Zurab grows up and starts to work with his father. Durmishkhan, having converted to Islam, has become a stranger to his land and people. Georgia comes under the threat of Muslim invaders and the king gives orders to bolster all fortresses in the country. However, Suram Fortress continues to crumble. Durmishkhan returns to Muslim territory. King's men come to Vardo the fortune teller to have her solve the mystery of Suram Fortress. Vardo tells that a blue-eyed young man of the country must be bricked up alive in order for the fortress to stand. Zurab sacrifices himself to save his country and its Christian faith.

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