Herb Shellenberger

Sergei Parajanov's The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984)
August 15, 2013
International House Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA, US

Part of Sergei Parajanov: Surrealist Poet of Soviet Cinema
Introduction by James M. Steffen, author of
The Cinema of Sergei Parajanov

“I always recall with great gratitude and great pleasure Sergei Parajanov’s fi;ms which I love very much. He had a paradoxical and poetic way of thinking. The way he loved beauty, the way he could be absolutely free within his idea of the film.” —Andrei Tarkovsky

Based on an ancient legend, this dazzling film 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. Like his most-famous film, The Color of Pomegranates, the film consists in a series of tableaux. Once again minimal dialogue is used and the film abounds in surreal, almost oneiric power.

The Legend of Suram Fortress, Sergei Parajanov, 1984, USSR, 35mm, 88'