Introduction by Martin Scorsese
Born in the Soviet Republic of Georgia to Armenian parents, Sergei Parajanov studied cinema at the illustrious VGIK in Moscow under Aleksandr Dovzhenko. After he saw Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood, he disowned his earlier films and re-dedicated himself to cinema with the astonishing Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, followed three years later by The Color of Pomegranates, even more wondrous. Few films have ever been as scorned and vilified by official powers, and few artists treated as disgracefully (Parajanov was later sentenced to five years of hard labor in Siberia). But a work as great as this one, a cine-poem of the life of the 18th-century Armenian/Georgian poet and singer Sayat-Nova, shines through such desecrations. Michelangelo Antonioni put it simply: “Parajanov’s Color of Pomegranates is of a stunningly perfect beauty.” And the film has, at long last, been restored to a form that comes closer than ever to the intentions of its creator, by the Cineteca di Bologna and the World Cinema Project.