Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Color of Pomegranates

The Color of Pomegranates – Sergei Parajanov – The film depicts the life of Armenian poet Sayat Nova (King of Song) not as a literal biopic, but instead as a poetic interpretation that draws upon his poetry and the filmmaker’s own desire to emulate ‘the Armenian illuminated miniatures. I wanted to create that inner dynamic that comes from inside the picture, the forms and the dramaturgy of colour.’  This quote does helpfully lend a viewing perspective – as it is, undeniably, a very particular and stylized framing and cinematic method. The film was unlike anything I have ever seen, although I really feel I would enjoy it more if I knew a bit more about Armenian culture and the tradition of the ‘ashug,’ an improvised song recited with the playing of a stringed instrument. Therefore ill-equipped to properly appreciate the significance of much of the film – and its political/cultural connotations for Armenia – I confess to finding quite a lot of it fairly boring. Maybe…very likely, watched in a ill chosen moment, probably not the sort of a film I should have slapped on, it being a casual Monday evening, while my girlfriend tried to work in the background, marking essays. Many of the scenes, held in almost static or simple tracking, do feel like religious tableaux, choreographed with mystic and poetic gestures…which, when accompanied by the near-constant drone or wail of the music, occasionally lapsed into a form of entirely new cinematic approach – dispensing for the need of narrative or montage and instead creating a solemn, cabbalistic theatre. 7/10

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