The Color of Pomegranates
|The Color of Pomegranates|
|Directed by||Sergei Parajanov|
|Written by||Sergei Parajanov
|Narrated by||Armen Dzhigarkhanyan|
|Music by||Tigran Mansuryan|
|Edited by||Sergei Parajanov
|Distributed by||Cosmos Film (France)
Artkino Pictures (US)
|78 mins. (Armenia)
73 mins. (USSR release)
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. According to Frank Williams, Paradjanov's film celebrates the survival of Armenian 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".
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." 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".
- Sofiko Chiaureli - Poet as a Youth/Poet's Love/Poet's Muse/Mime/Angel of Resurrection
- Melkon Aleksanyan - Poet as a child (as M. Alekyan)
- Vilen Galstyan - Poet in the cloister
- Giorgi Gegechkori - Poet as an old man
- Spartak Bagashvili - Poet's father
- Medea Djaparidze - Poet's mother
- Onik Minasyan - Prince
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 It was refused a license for export outside of the Soviet Union and was withdrawn after a two months circulation in the Soviet Union.
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". 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."
The Color of Pomegranates was referenced in the films Peter Greenaway in Indianapolis (1997) and Erased Faces II (2006).
New York-based composer "Nicolas Jaar" released a largely ambient record entitled "Pomegranates" for free. It is loosely based around the 1969 Soviet film The Color of Pomegranates. It should be noted that 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. 
- Cahiers Du Cinema, Top10 Lists
- Time Out Top100 Films (Centenary)
- "Sayat-Nova" at Parajanov.com
- World Film Directors: 1945-1985, by John Wakeman, 1987, p. 737
- Armenian Rhapsody, The Independent, London, 1999
- (Parajanov, "Vystuplenie" 610)
- Antonioni on Parajanov
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- The Color of Pomegranates at the Internet Movie Database
- The Color of Pomegranates at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Color of Pomegranates is available for free download at the Internet Archive (english subtitles)
- The Color of Pomegranates at Reverse Shot Online
- on YouTube