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Arabesques on the Theme of Pirosmani

by Sergei Parajanov
Georgia 1985, 21′
Presented at Secret Florence 7th edition, 2022
Copy retained by the Georgian Film The documentary is a tribute to the Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani (1862-1918), a primitivist painter who painted kings, commoners and animals in a seemingly childlike style that today appears very modern to our eyes. Shots of paintings alternate with shots of subjects and people to convey the melancholic and metaphysical nature of the artist’s work.
Sergei Parajanov was born in 1924 in Tbilisi, Georgia, at the time part of the Soviet Union, he is known for his surrealist and visionary poetic style, with which he reinterpreted the popular traditions and legends of his homeland and the Caucasus regions. Because of his outspoken criticism of the Soviet authorities, his works were subject to strong censorship and he himself was imprisoned several times. In the 1970s, he spent more than five years in a Ukrainian prison. Widely celebrated throughout his life by the international film world, he has won numerous awards at major festivals, including Venice (1988), New York (1988), Rotterdam (1987), and Istanbul (1989). His films have been the subject of numerous retrospectives including those of the MoMA of New York, of the Harvard Film Archive, of the Mystetskyi Arsenal of Kyiv, of the Tbilisi History Museum, of the Odessa International Film Festival, and of the Arsenal Berlin. In 2014, the Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation, foundation set up by Martin Scorzese to safeguard the world’s film heritage, restored his most famous work, The Color of Pomegranates (1969), which premiered at the 67th Cannes Film Festival (2014).