The Colour of Pomegranates

Soviet Union, Armenia 1969

One of the most daringly experimental films ever made (and produced in pre-Glasnost USSR, where it was quickly banned), Parajanov’s tribute to the Armenian poet Sayat Nova rethinks the very nature of cinematic space. Woven patterns and colours of traditional textiles and customs provide him with a different visual model. The way in which clothing sculpts and defines the body, creating a space neither flat nor deep but attuned to both the senses of touch and vision, inspires the discontinuous tableaux that make up this film. Textures and colours spill across each other as space dissolves into a succession of surfaces and shapes. Figures, gestures, textiles, costumes, and architecture merge in a shallow but endlessly varied space. Woven and embroidered textiles mould or conceal bodies and space in the rituals of birth and death that compose a film that seems to emanate from another world.

Soviet Union, Armenia 1969. Dir. Sergei Parajanov. With Sofiko Chiaureli, Melkon Alekyan, Vilen Galstyan. Art Direction Stepan Andranikian and Mikhail Arakelian. Costumes Elena Akhvlediani, Iosif Karalov, Jasmine Sarabian.