Preceding the feature is the American premiere of a restored short film by Parajanov, Kiev Frescoes, composed of outtakes from an uncompleted film project. (Sergei Parajanov, 1966, 13 minutes)
The Color of Pomegranates is Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece, a dreamlike kinetic pictograph based on the life and writings of the eighteenth-century Armenian poet and troubadour Sayat Nova. Mingling tableaux, ritual, metaphor, music, and poetry, the film attempts to recount the poet’s inner life while following his story from childhood through death, incorporating a tradition of Armenian miniature painting in the telling. The powerful imagery and expressive music aroused controversy when the film was first released in the USSR. (Sergei Parajanov, 1969, subtitles, 75 minutes) Commentary by Levon Abrahamyan, Joseph Horowitz, Peter Rollberg, and Daniel Bird.