Sergei Parajanov

Sergei Parajanov

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Short biography

Sergei Iosifovich Parajanov is a film director, born January 9, 1924.


"Sergei Parajanov was born in Tiflis (Tbilisi) in the family of an antiques dealer. This profession was hereditary in the family, and its head - Joseph Parajanov hoped that his children would follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. He himself was one of the wealthy people of pre-revolutionary Tifilis and, in addition to the antique store, owned several other establishments, including a brothel called "Family Corner".

In the profitable business of her husband participated and his wife Siran, who personally selected the girls for the brothel (girls were brought from as far away as France). When the revolution broke out, Joseph Parajanov lost almost all his wealth, but the antique business did not abandon. Buying and selling valuable things remained the main business in his life. However, the times were already different and the authorities have a completely different look at the occupation of Paradzhanov-senior. In the late 20's he was arrested for the first time, and then "walks" to the zone became almost a ritual. However, he never served his time completely - then he was released early for good behavior, then he fell under the amnesty. As Sergei Parajanov later joked, his father, as an exemplary Soviet worker, fulfilled five-year plans in four years.

The shops of old Tiflis were often also workshops - they produced and sold at the same time. Their characteristic feature was the absence of a front wall; open to the gaze of the crowd, they gave this colorful half-Asian, half-European city a special charm. Not only goods, but also the labor of ordinary artisans and traders was on display. In the photographs of the late 19th century one can see potters, tinkers, carpet and pita sellers in the openings of their shops and workshops. This uniqueness of old Tiflis was preserved for a long time, and Parajanov-boy still caught it. For an observant and artistically gifted boy it was a huge and fascinating world, amazed by the variety of colors, smells, sounds, people and things.

These childhood impressions of the director played a role in awakening his love for painting and theater, which took such an important place in Parajanov's cinema.

Youth and tragic love

In 1942, Sergei Parajanov finishes high school and becomes a student at the Tbilisi Institute of Railway Engineers. However, only a year will pass, and Parajanov will realize that he made a rash decision - the love for art will take its toll.

While studying at VGIK Sergei Parajanov fell in love with Nigar, a Tatar girl who was born in Moldova. Their acquaintance happened by chance. Walking into TSUM, Sergei in the perfume department suddenly saw a girl who made a strong impression on him. Almost the same day Sergei asked her out on a date. Their romance lasted several months and ended in marriage. However, their happiness did not last long, Nigar came from a patriarchal family, which reigned very strict morals. When the girl's brothers came to Moscow and learned that she married without the knowledge of relatives, they demanded a large ransom from Parajanov. The student Parajanov did not have such money, but he promised to get it, hoping for help from his father. The same day a letter flew to Iosif Parajanov in Tbilisi, in which his son literally begged him to give him the required amount, promising to return it in time. But Joseph was too offended at his son for changing the family tradition, did not follow in his professional footsteps, and refused the request. The finale of this story was tragic: the relatives demanded from the girl that she leave her penniless husband and return with them to her homeland. But she refused. And then the relatives did with her according to their patriarchal mores - threw her under the electric train.

A madman at large

Appeal Sergei Parajanov to the Moldovan theme was a tribute to the memory of his favorite girl, which Parajanov has not forgotten until the end of his days. Although outwardly his personal life after this tragedy was quite prosperous. In the mid 50's, while in Kiev, he married a Ukrainian woman, two years living in Canada - Svetlana Scherbatyuk. Elegant, beautiful, she could well be a photo model. They had a son, who was named Suren. Blond, like his mother, the boy outwardly took little from his father, who adored him. But it was difficult to live in a family with Parazhdanov. He was a man unpredictable, strange, and many of his quirks were perceived by people as madness. Parazhdanov's neighbors in Tbilisi used to say: "A madman on the loose.

Sergei Parajanov forced his wife to take part in his hoaxes and fads. He insisted that she peel apples in some unusual way, put the cup on the table not this way but that way, put the cutlets on the plate in a special way. His creative life did not know pauses, it was so intense that his imagination continued to "produce" and in between professional art, when he just socialized with people. Someone knew Parajanov the man, someone knew Parajanov the artist, and there was one Parajanov - the creator of a fictional beautiful world.

Apparently, Svetlana Shcherbatyuk failed to adapt to the quirks of her husband and in 1961, taking her son with her, left his house. But Sergei Parajanov forever kept in his heart love for this woman. It is said that when he first saw the famous actress Vija Artmane in Kiev, he fell to his knees in front of her, uttering rapturous words of admiration. Outwardly, Artmane was very similar to his ex-wife Svetlana Shcherbatyuk".


Meanwhile, the film "The Color of Pomegranate" lasted at the box office for only a few months, after which it was withdrawn. The reason was serious - in December 1973, Sergei Parajanov was arrested. For what? He was accused of homosexuality. Did this accusation have any basis? Here opinions differ. Some say that homosexuality took place in the life of the director, others deny it. And these were completely different people. Among them were his friends, casual acquaintances and who knows who else. And every time Sergei Parajanov organized a small performance in front of them, during which the audience could hardly distinguish where in his words of truth and where fiction. And he said things that were not harmless at all. For example, in one case he could tell how he slept with a famous movie actress, and in another - how he seduced a famous artist.


In 1964, Sergei Parajanov's first masterpiece "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" (based on the novel of the same name by M. Kotsyubinsky; Best Director Award and prize at the Mar del Plato Film Festival, Argentina, 1965; Cup of the I Festival of Festivals in Rome, Italy, 1965 and other awards) appeared, which brought the director worldwide fame. The Armenian director created a cinematic monument to Hutsul culture. A striking penetration into Western Ukrainian ethnography is combined here with Parajanov's original poetics. The picture is dominated by the visual element, with a special place taken by the innovative work with color, but the melody of Hutsul speech also becomes a strong expressive tool. Most episodes are characterized by rapid intraframe movement. This is Parajanov's most expressive film. The story of love, death and loyalty is filled with powerful pagan vitality.

World-famous director Sergei Parajanov, however, remained in forced downtime. His work on the movie "Kiev Frescoes" was interrupted. In 1967 Parajanov was invited to the Yerevan Film Studio, where he shot the film "Sayat Nova" or "The Color of Pomegranate" (1968) - a picture about the great Armenian poet, which is more about the life of the spirit, rather than the external events of biography.

And again the arrest

From 1974 to December 1977 Sergei Parajanov was in prison, where this "inconvenient", conflicted man was sent on skillfully drafted charges. With a request for the release of the director appealed to Leonid Brezhnev. I. Brezhnev Louis Aragon. After his return Parajanov worked at the studio "Georgia-film", where together with D. Abashidze put "The Legend of the Surama Fortress" (1984).

The last years of his life

Sergei Parajanov was released on December 30, 1977. Due to the prohibition to live in Ukraine, Parajanov settled in Tbilisi. Parajanov was called "an Armenian born in Georgia and imprisoned in a Russian prison for Ukrainian nationalism" for his civic position and the persecution he suffered for it.

The films "Intermezzo" (based on M. Kotsyubinsky), "Kiev Frescoes," "Icarus," and "Confession" were not released.

Sergei Parajanov also wrote scripts and was an artist - he created a huge number of drawings and collages.

Sergei Parajanov died of lung cancer on July 21, 1990 in Yerevan.

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