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The Colour of Pomegranates PG rating

The film that Martin Scorsese compared to ‘opening a door and walking into another dimension, where time has stopped and beauty has been unleashed’.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1968 80 mins

Director: Sergei Paradjanov


Sergei Parajanov's celebrated masterpiece paints an astonishing portrait of the 18th century Armenian poet Sayat Nova, the 'King of Song'. Parajanov's aim was not a conventional biography but a cinematic expression of his work, resulting in an extraordinary visual poem. Key moments in his subject's life are illustrated through a series of exquisitely orchestrated tableaux filled with rich colour and stunning iconography, each scene a celluloid painting alive with stylised movement.

Following the international success of Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors (1964), Sergei Parajanov was commissioned by Armenfilm Studios in Yerevan to make a film about the life of the 18th-century Armenian ashugh, Sayat Nova. Eschewing the conventional biopic, Parajanov chose the cinematic visualisation of Sayat Nova’s poetry, mixing ethnic rituals with surrealistic happenings. Deemed inaccessible by Soviet authorities, it was re-cut and given a nominal release under the title The Colour of Pomegranates. This restored version presents the original Armenian cut, complete with Parajanov’s preferred stream of consciousness narrative. The apotheosis of the poetic tradition in Soviet cinema kick-started by Dovzhenko, Sayat Nova still exerts a strong influence on contemporary art house cinema. Ranked joint 122th in the 2022 Sight and Sound Great Films of All Time poll