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A tribute to Sergei Parajanov

Three restored films

Lo schermo dell’arte takes part in the seventh edition of Secret Florence, special project of Estate Fiorentina 2022 promoted by the Municipality of Florence, by proposing a tribute to the great Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov (Georgia 1924 – Armenia 1990).

In programme at Cinema La Compagnia on June 13, 2022 at 9:30 PM, three of his extraordinary recently restored short masterpieces reflecting the colourful and poetic style typical of the work of the author, considered one of the great masters of 20th century cinema: Kyiv Frescoes (1966), Hakob Hovnatanyan (1967), and Arabesques on the Theme of Pirosmani (1985). Together, they can be seen as an ode to painting and the artists who influenced Parajanov.

The films, presented in digital version, are stored in the following archives: Dovzhenko Centre Ukraine in KyivNCCA-National Cinema Centre of Armenia in YerevanGeorgian Film in Tbilisi. 

The programme will be introduced by British writer, curator and producer Daniel Bird, who has spent years exploring film archives in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine in search of forgotten masterpieces.

The evening is an opportunity to promote the fundraising campaign in favour of the Ukrainian film archive Dovzhenko Centre Ukrainein Kyiv.

Sergei Parajanov

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).

Daniel Bird

Daniel Bird is co-founder of the post-production and production company Acid Pictures. He directs the Hamo Bek-Nazarov Project, which sets out to restore, rediscover and re-evaluate the cinematic legacies of  of both Transcaucasia and Central Asia by establishing a network between regional film agencies, national archives, international restoration specialists, fund raisers, academic researchers, film programmers and distributors. Through this project he has produced Temple of Cinema, an installation featuring outtakes from Sergei Parajanov’s The Colour of Pomegranates, and a restoration of Maria Saakyan’s Mayak. Between 2018 and 2020, he worked with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia, the Dovzhenko Centre Ukraine and the Georgian Film to produce Parajanov Triptych, consisting in the 3 recently restored films by Sergei Parajanov that are in programme at Cinema La Compagnia for this edition of Secret Florence.

Films in programme

Monday, June 13 at 9:30 PM

Free entry
Reservation recommended: CLICK HERE to reserve your place in the hall

Introduction by Daniel Bird
Hakob Hovnatanyan

Armenia, 1967, 10′
Copy retained by the NCCA – National Cinema Centre of Armenia
With a playful associative montage, Parajanov offers an overview of portraits by Hakob Hovnatanyan, a 19th-century Armenian painter known as the ‘Raffaello of Tbilisi’. Combining images of Hovnatanyan’s paintings and 19th century views of Tbilisi with sound and music, this short documentary is regarded as a precursor to The Color of Pomegranates.

Kyiv Frescoes

Ukraine, 1966, 15′
Copy retained by the Dovzhenko Centre Uckraine
The filming of this documentary on the birth of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev after World War II was interrupted because the project was declared anti-Soviet. This fragment that survived censorship demonstrates a new cinematic language. The film is built around a series of fragments of footage that form a unique collage, accompanied by a dense soundtrack in which American and French pop melodies alternate with songs of the Red Army and Orthodox liturgy.

Arabesques on the Theme of Pirosmani

Georgia, 1985, 21′
Copy retained by the Georgian Film | © JSC Georgian Film and Mematiane
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.

Art, cinema, dance, and music
June 4–15, Florence

Secret Florence, a strategic project of Estate Fiorentina, presents its seventh edition.
The project, carried out by the five internationally active institutions based in the City of Florence’s urban area (Fabbrica Europa, Lo schermo dell’arte, Musicus Concentus, Tempo Reale, and Centro Nazionale di Produzione della Danza Virgilio Sieni) is imagined for a series of scenic spaces, most of which are being used for the first time, where dance, music, art, and cinema performances adapt each time to the architectural and acoustic characteristics of different locations. This way the actions that compose the performances help rediscover traditional spaces under a new light, allowing to establish different aesthetic perspectives in previously unused buildings or environments, or to reveal forgotten or unknown cultural events and histories. All the artistic offerings are unique to their territory and in some cases are also completely new within the worldwide panorama of contemporary artistic research. The program includes free events and events with strongly discounted prices.