Sergei Parajanov

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jsteffe
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 am
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#26 Post by jsteffe » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:06 pm

bother21, welcome to the club! I'm sorry that I wasn't able to travel to England to see the symposium and retrospective.

I know for a fact that Mikhail Vartanov's "The Last Spring" is not currently available on DVD, though I don't anything about future plans. The late director's son Martin has arranged a screening of the film at UCLA on Sunday, April 18 for those in the L.A. area.

You can view brief excerpts from the rushes in one of the documentaries in the 2-DVD set Paradzhanov's Code by Levon Grigorian. In my view the documentaries are all flawed to varying degrees, but the footage really is something else, and the outtakes look better here than anywhere else.

bother21
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#27 Post by bother21 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:12 am

Great thanks. I did notice that screening in the US, and wondered why this particular documentary wasn't included in the UK season -given all that has been written about it.

Funnily enough I have just the other day ordered that Levon Grigorian DVD set (from the US). Unfortunately I didn't get to see him speak as part of the festival.

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ando
Bringing Out El Duende
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#28 Post by ando » Mon May 10, 2010 4:49 am

Thanks for those missing pieces of Pomegranates, jsteffe. It's a frustrating experience, I must admit, to watch the film in it's current form (I have the latest Kino cut), and I've always been more fascinated by Parajanov, the man, than his films - the exception being Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors, which I find enthralling. I find that I need to be completely still in order to appreciate much of Parajanov's later work. Then much of the humor in his work is revealed. I'm afraid that I'm so inurred with Western conceptions of narrative and storytelling, not to mention approaches to art, in general, that sometimes much of Parajanov's play is lost on me. Also, I agree with the late Tarkovsky who said that Parajanov was completely innocent and a bit naive. So his work can sometimes be easy to ridicule...

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jsteffe
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#29 Post by jsteffe » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:22 pm

bother21 wrote:I've loved Parajanov since my first encounter with his movies in the '80s, and the current season in London and Bristol is a godsend, which has only heightened my interest. I've come across this thread which is incredibly helpful.

I wondered if anyone knows if the Mikhail Vartanov documentary 'Parajanov: Last Spring' was ever released on video or DVD - I can find no trace of it if it was.
Welcome to the thread! Sorry I didn't see your message earlier. I can say definitively that "Parajanov: The Last Spring" has never been released on video. Vartanov passed away recently, but I've been in touch with his son. They recently showed the film in Los Angeles. I'd love to see it and Vartanov's other documentaries on DVD eventually.

I just posted a lengthy blog entry comparing the four DVD editions of The Color of Pomegranates, complete with frame grabs. The new RUSCICO subtitled edition (the Yutkevich) fixes the audio sync problem of their older unsubtitled edition, but in my view it still leaves something to be desire, image-wise.

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tojoed
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#30 Post by tojoed » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:00 pm

Second Sight in the UK are releasing "The Colour of Pomegranates" on DVD in February.
This from their website:
THE COLOUR OF POMEGRANATES (28.02.11)
Sergei Parajanov's masterpiece looks more beautiful than ever in this restored version. Includes 'Memories of Sayat Nova' in which the director's assistant recalls the making of the film.
More info on this to come.

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Murdoch
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#31 Post by Murdoch » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:13 am

Very good news, I'd been holding off since the Kino is lousy and the RUSCICO's on the expensive side. Glad to see it's been given a restoration.

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Peacock
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#32 Post by Peacock » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:25 pm

Not sure the restoration is anything new or big or presumedly they would also release it on Blu simultaneously.... will be interesting to see how this one looks

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jsteffe
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#33 Post by jsteffe » Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:14 pm

If Second Sight is licensing the transfer from RUSCICO, which seems likely, keep in mind that it will be the Yutkevich (recut) version of the film. Also, the transfer is hardly ideal although it looks better than Kino's very old transfer. However, the Kino DVD is the longer Armenian release version. It's often mistakenly called the "director's cut," but it's still closer to Parajanov's intentions than the re-edited Yutkevich version.

James
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#34 Post by James » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:33 pm

Does this mean the Kino set is the best way to go?

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jsteffe
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#35 Post by jsteffe » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:20 pm

James wrote:Does this mean the Kino set is the best way to go?
It's complicated... I'd say the general consensus is that the Kino box set is fine, especially if you can play only R1 DVDs. If you're based in the UK, you should go ahead with the Artificial Eye discs of Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, the Legend of Suram Fortress and Ashik Kerib.

For The Color of Pomegranates, there's no really satisfactory option, as I discuss in more detail in my blog entry. You'd probably want to get both the Armenian release version (the so-called "director's cut") and the Yutkevich cut. I think most people prefer the French DVD, which is a newer transfer than the Kino and has optional subtitles. Personally, I find it unwatchable because of its excessive cropping, color boosting, contrast boosting and edge enhancement. For that reason I still prefer the Kino, though apparently I'm in the minority. The Kino transfer is very old and faded, though, and it has obtrusive yellow subtitles. Of the editions that are still obtainable, the RUSCICO PAL edition of the Yutkevich cut looks better than either the Kino or the French edition, though it still looks overly processed to my eyes.

I suggest you wait for the Second Sight DVD of the Yutkevich cut. I've heard that they may be adding some newly created special features on it that are not included on the RUSCICO edition. We'll see...

James
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#36 Post by James » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:28 pm

Yeah, I'm definitely gonna wait and see. I started Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors last night, and while I didn't watch the whole thing, what I saw blew me away.

onedimension
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#37 Post by onedimension » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:42 pm

My hope is that Kino revisits their box set in the next 2-3 years with their inspiring new Quality Standards

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zedz
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#38 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:37 pm

onedimension wrote:My hope is that Kino revisits their box set in the next 2-3 years with their inspiring new Quality Standards
It would be nice if this made a difference, but the big problems with Pomegranates are licensing and print ones. Ruscico has a stranglehold on the elements for the Yutkevich cut, which is (or used to be, at any rate) very well preserved, so any new transfer would have to come through them. As far as I know, all versions of the 'director's cut' seem to derive from the faded 16mm print smuggled out of the USSR in the early 80s, so they're going to be either very compromised or very, very compromised in terms of picture quality.

Here's hoping that somebody, someday (Scorsese is a fan - maybe he's the best bet) spearheads a concerted effort to track down the best materials so that both versions can be seen restored to all their bizarre splendour. All indications are that such a task is beyond the powers of a solitary DVD label, however well-resourced and well-intentioned.

stephenp
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#39 Post by stephenp » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:49 pm

With this thread riding high, now seems a good time to mention for the benefit of Edinburgh folk (you know who you are) that there is a screening of The Colour of Pomegranates tomorrow evening (Tuesday 1st Feb) at 9.30pm at the Traverse, a venue off the normal film-going itinerary, as part of its Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival.

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jsteffe
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#40 Post by jsteffe » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:55 pm

zedz wrote: It would be nice if this made a difference, but the big problems with Pomegranates are licensing and print ones. Ruscico has a stranglehold on the elements for the Yutkevich cut, which is (or used to be, at any rate) very well preserved, so any new transfer would have to come through them. As far as I know, all versions of the 'director's cut' seem to derive from the faded 16mm print smuggled out of the USSR in the early 80s, so they're going to be either very compromised or very, very compromised in terms of picture quality.

Here's hoping that somebody, someday (Scorsese is a fan - maybe he's the best bet) spearheads a concerted effort to track down the best materials so that both versions can be seen restored to all their bizarre splendour. All indications are that such a task is beyond the powers of a solitary DVD label, however well-resourced and well-intentioned.
The Armenian release version ("director's cut") definitely survives in 35mm--a 35mm internegative or interpositive should be held at the national archives in Armenia. (It's best to verify this last point with the archive itself.) I do know that a subtitled 35mm print of that version was distributed in the U.S. in the early Nineties, because I arranged for a screening of it in Las Vegas after it showed at the L.A. Film Festival. A distributor named Nora Armani ("Meronk Films") was renting it.

I'm pretty sure that the smuggled 16mm print from the Seventies (when Parajanov was imprisoned) was of the Yutkevich version, since sources at the time mention the print being heavily cut. Zedz has a good idea here--if Scorsese is indeed a fan of the film, it would be great if the World Cinema Foundation or some other entity could back a full-scale digital restoration of both versions of the film and of the surviving outtakes, which are fascinating in their own right.

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zedz
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#41 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:42 pm

Always great to have your more authoritative view.

My information re. the two versions were from personal experience with a 16mm film society print in the 1980s, before the film was officially available from Soviet sources. This matched what is now known as the "director's cut" - the version on the Kino DVD - and was well-worn with faded colour. In around 1990, when the Soviets were having a perestroika fire sale (trying to generate as much revenue from their holdings before they fell into limbo), me managed to obtain a beautiful 35mm print of the film in a different cut (which I later found out was the Yutkevich one) - the only version available from 'official' Soviet sources.

If the elements for the Armenian cut do indeed survive, that's fantastic news (I had just assumed they hadn't, because I'd never heard of a better-than-16mm source for that version), and means it's only a matter of will and money to get this released in a form and format the film deserves - not that finding will and money isn't a significant enough hurdle.

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jsteffe
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#42 Post by jsteffe » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:07 am

zedz wrote:My information re. the two versions were from personal experience with a 16mm film society print in the 1980s, before the film was officially available from Soviet sources. This matched what is now known as the "director's cut" - the version on the Kino DVD - and was well-worn with faded colour. In around 1990, when the Soviets were having a perestroika fire sale (trying to generate as much revenue from their holdings before they fell into limbo), me managed to obtain a beautiful 35mm print of the film in a different cut (which I later found out was the Yutkevich one) - the only version available from 'official' Soviet sources.

If the elements for the Armenian cut do indeed survive, that's fantastic news (I had just assumed they hadn't, because I'd never heard of a better-than-16mm source for that version), and means it's only a matter of will and money to get this released in a form and format the film deserves - not that finding will and money isn't a significant enough hurdle.
You may well be right about the 16mm print. I do know that a 16mm print was smuggled out of the Soviet Union around 1977 and was shown as part of the campaign to get Parajanov released. Some news sources at the time reported that it was smuggled through Iran--this suggests that it likely would have originated from Armenia, which is next door so to speak. It's always possible that bootleg print wasn't really cut, that it was the Armenian release version. For that matter, Armenia may have made official 16mm prints of the film for local film clubs during its initial Armenian release in 1969-1970, and that was what someone smuggled out of the country.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#43 Post by nolanoe » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:35 pm

ANY news on the Second Sight edition?? I hope that it will be restored in some form. Frankly, as long as they can keep the coloring true to the original, I can hold out for the longer version.

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jsteffe
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#44 Post by jsteffe » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:47 pm

nolanoe wrote:ANY news on the Second Sight edition?? I hope that it will be restored in some form. Frankly, as long as they can keep the coloring true to the original, I can hold out for the longer version.
From what I understand they are putting a *lot* of work into this edition. It will take a little time to get ready for release, but personally I am looking forward to it!

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#45 Post by ivuernis » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:33 pm

Second Sight are tentatively saying this should now be released in July or August.

James
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#46 Post by James » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:39 am

ivuernis wrote:Second Sight are tentatively saying this should now be released in July or August.
That's excellent to hear that they're putting a lot of effort into it.

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bringmesomechemicals
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#47 Post by bringmesomechemicals » Mon May 02, 2011 10:47 am

The Color of Pomegranates is available for instant streaming on Netflix. Does anyone with knowledge of the various versions know which one this is? Additionally, is it worth watching or should one wait for the Second Sight release that apparently is imminent?

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bringmesomechemicals
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#48 Post by bringmesomechemicals » Wed May 11, 2011 10:53 am

I began watching the Netflix version last night and it was preceded by the KINO logo and the quality is rather rough. Its running time is 88 minutes, just like KINO's DVD release.

ivuernis
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#49 Post by ivuernis » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:54 am

Second Sight are now saying The Colour of Pomegrantes will be released on August 29th with a "a newly commissioned 90 minute documentary on the making of the film, a commentary by Levon Abrahamyan (Anthropologist, Armenian Academy of Sciences) moderated by Daniel Bird, 'Memories of Sayat Nova' by Levon Grigorian and an introduction Daniel Bird.". Doesn't say anything about the film itself, which version will be used or whether it will be a new mastering. I imagine I'll pick this disc up for the supplementary material alone plus the cover is great!

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#50 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:03 am

That sounds pretty unmissable - and if the transfer's another disappointment... well, I'm used to it!

But Second Sight's recent releases have been excellent, and they seem to be taking this one very seriously, so I'm quietly optimistic.

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