Main Tabs


Sergei Parajanov, FOFA Gallery

I did my undergrad in film production many moons ago.  In terms of cinema geekiness, I was and still am not the top dog.  My knowledge of Bergman was limited, I did not love Last Year at Marienbad (although am curious to see if my opinion has changed), and only saw my first Terrance Malick film when Tree of Life came out last year.  But I had and always will have the love of aesthetics, moving images and the use of so many elements and variables that come together in mammoth projects to convey ideas and visions.  Then there's that wonderful thing of discovering something new, and that was my modus operandi when I attended the first in a series of five screenings featuring the work of Sergei Parajanov.  Ummmm, who?!  Off I went to be enlightened.

Beginning last week and continuing over the course of the next four Saturdays, curator Marcin Wisniewski in collaboration with Concordia University's FOFA Gallery will be presenting screenings of Parajanov's work, a short lecture by a guest speaker and an accompanying short film that reflect themes and ideas that relate to the Soviet filmmaker.  Parajanov has been praised by and his work lives in the same realm as many of the great auteurs of cinema: Fellini, Godard, Antonioni and Tarkovsky. Andrei Tarkovsky was a strong artistic influence and close friend to Parajanov, but despite this he is seemingly overlooked in cinema history.

"...while Tarkovsky is to this day well known and much celebrated director [...] the link between Tarkovsky and Parajanov is also important; placing them in two simultaneous contexts not only that of art cinema or auteur cinema [...] but as representatives of cinema d'auteur in the Soviet Union and  the developement of the new politics and aesthetics of Soviet cinema at the time, however different they may be."
-Masha Salazkina, Soviet Cinema & the Poetic School, January 19, 2013

Upon watching the first film in this series "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" (1964), his first foray into poetic cinema, I felt a familiarity watching the surreal or absurdist tableaux go by.  They recalled to mind Fellini's Satyricon (1969) or Jorodwsky's El Topo (1970), films that contain very simple narratives surrounding a (life) journey or a mission and illustrated with dreamlike scenarios.

 A portrait of Parajanov, 1979, by Y. Mechitov, from here

Next Saturday's screening will feature Parajanov's most celebrated work Color of Pomengranates (1968); here are a couple of words from curator Marcin Wisniewski on the film:

"I was simply overwhelmed by the beauty coming at me from the screen. Here was art and cinema coming together in a beautifully poetic form to make ART CINEMA. It's like every shot was a painting and when they all came together they formed this overwhelmingly beautiful, cleverly crafted poem. I've always been a fan and a supporter of beauty -I know how grandiose it sounds-but i'm not talking about pretty things, I'm talking about beautiful things that challenge the viewer and their experience of the world."

More info on the screening here. Be prepared to have your senses ripped out and rearranged....