The Colour of Pomegranates

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 - 7:00 pm


In the temple of cinema there are images, light, and reality. Sergei Parajanov was the master of that temple.”  Jean-Luc Godard

Staged in medieval monasteries and churches, inspired by Armenian miniatures, icons, and manuscripts, and influenced by early film, Soviet cinema, and American queer avant-garde, Sergei Parajanov’s biography of the 18th-century troubadour-poet-monk Sayat-Nova (“King of Songs,” one of many translations) has been described as ​an exotic pageant … As much ritual as movie” (J. Hoberman, New York Times). Shooting with a static camera, Parajanov depicts Sayat-Nova’s life in a series of tableaux vivants based on his poetry, replaying each significant moment ​with slight variations to account for shifts in feeling and perspective” (Rahul Hamid, Senses of Cinema). Later overdubbed with sound effects, chant, and song, but almost no dialogue or voice-overs, the film contains only snatches of Sayat-Nova’s verse. Instead its imagery is in the mise-en-scène, the weight of metaphor made material through colour, pattern, texture and form. In Armenian and Georgian with English subtitles.

Programmed by Michèle Smith

Introduced by Aram Bajakian, an American-Armenian musician and UBC ethnomusicologist specializing in musics of the Near East diaspora. In 2014, Aram released the album Music Inspired by The Color of Pomegranates. His pre-screening talk will focus on the many other "alternative" soundtracks to the film.

The Colour of Pomegranates
(aka Sayat Nova)
(Նռան գույնը)
USSR 1968
Sergei Parajanov
77 min. DCP