Sergei Parajanov – Ambavi Suramis tsikhitsa (Легенда о Сурамской крепости) AKA The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984)

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Parajanov was born in 1924 (..) In 1964, Parajanov stunned critics and audiences with “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”, a baroque and free-wheeling adaptation of Romeo and Juliet-like Carpathian folklore involving two lovers separated by quarreling families and their tragic fates amid everyday village life and religious ritual. Visually stunning (the opening sequence involves the camera riding atop a falling tree), it was condemned for its brash formalism in a time when Kruschev had attacked abstract art, bringing an end to the post-Stalinist cultural “thaw” of the late-’50s and early ’60s. The film was quickly removed from Soviet screens and precipitated Parajanov’s extended battles with Soviet authorities. Kiev Frescos was cancelled mid-shoot because of its “bourgeois subjectivism and mysticism” (Ackerman) and Sayat-Nova (The Color of Pomegranates) (1969) was immediately banned and later released in a drastically re-edited form.

Parajanov’s scripts were then rejected, one after another, until 1973, when he was arrested for dubious charges including dealing in foreign currency, speculating on art works, stealing icons, being homosexual, and inciting suicide. He was sentenced to five years of hard labor in the Dniepropetrovsk gulag, but international activists (including Louis Aragon and John Updike) petitioned and convinced the Soviet authorities to release him after four years. (Vardanov’s documentary provides moving footage of demonstrators carrying a large Sayat-Nova puppet at a late-’70s Cannes Film Festival protest.) In 1982, he was again arrested, ostensibly for attempting to bribe an official, but after serving 11 months in jail he was declared innocent.

After fifteen years of professional exile, Parajanov finally resumed his career with The Legend of Suram Fortress (1985) and Ashik-Kerib (1988). He died while filming The Confession.

Synopsis
(The Legend of Suram Fortress) – Based on an ancient legend, this dazzling film by visionary director Sergei Paradjanov (Ashik Kerib, Shadows Of Our Forgotten Ancestors) is a surreal ode to Georgian warriors throughout the ages who died for their country. Repeated efforts by the Georgian people to construct a defensive stronghold continually fail. The building collapses until a fortune teller remembers an old prophecy that the son of her erstwhile lover must be bricked up alive in order for the fortress to stand. The young man is faced with the prospect of sacrificing himself to save his country. (The Legend of Suram Fortress) – Based on an ancient legend, this dazzling film by visionary director Sergei Paradjanov (Ashik Kerib, Shadows Of Our Forgotten Ancestors) is a surreal ode to Georgian warriors throughout the ages who died for their country. Repeated efforts by the Georgian people to construct a defensive stronghold continually fail. The building collapses until a fortune teller remembers an old prophecy that the son of her erstwhile lover must be bricked up alive in order for the fortress to stand. The young man is faced with the prospect of sacrificing himself to save his country.

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Language:Georgian + Russian voice over
Subtitles:English,russian,german,french,spanish,portuguese,italian,dutch,swedish,hebrew,arabic,chinese,greek Vobsubs
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