Sergei Paradjanov The Last Spring, Sergei Parajanov, Mikhail Vartanov, Martin Vartanov, Sofiko Chiaureli


Influential documentary by Mikhail Vartanov about his imprisoned friend, the genius Sergei Parajanov, who was persecuted at the height of his artistic power for his unruly life style and non-conformist masterpieces -- Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and The Color of Pomegranates -- hailed as some of the greatest motion pictures of the 20th century.

Made in a blockaded, war-torn Armenia, under the prohibitive conditions of only one hour daily limit of electricity, Parajanov: The Last Spring caused a sensation at its premieres in Russia and Armenia, and its individual chapters, and texts, influenced numerous future books, writings, and films.

After the premiere in Russia, Tonino Guerra, the legendary screenwriter of Fellini's Amarcord and Antonioni's Blowup, wrote: Vartanov's film, Paradjanov: The Last Spring about the last days of our great Parajanov, excited and filled me with the strenght to resume the way of the magnificent tale that the Maestro had taken...

It's the first film...successful in presenting the Genius...seen with the eyes of Mikhail Vartanov's heart and gifted to the spectators... It's been a long time since the walls of the House of Cinema heard such sincere ovations of the audience. -- The Republic of Armenia Newspaper

Poet Samvel Shakhbazian wrote: The (audience in the) theater was left breathless and then gave the film's author a 15 minute standing ovation...And I, with everyone, left the theater completely shaken.

In Parajanov: The Last Spring, Mikhail Vartanov demistifies the film language created by Sergei Paradjanov in just few wise sentences. The documentary features the behind-the-scenes episodes of Parajanov at work on his masterpiece Sayat Nova (The Color of Pomegranates), filmmed by Mikhail Vartanov in 1967 in his censored documentary The Color Armenian Land; a shocking secret request sent by Parajanov to Vartanov in letters from prisons; the friendship of Sergei Parajanov and Andrei Tarkovsky; Parajanov's own commentary and his last day in cinema - his striking attempt to add sound to his last unfinished film The Confession, the complete surviving footage of which can only be seen here.

This is also Mikhail Vartanov's last film where his trademark poetic style reaches its peak. He wrote: The Last Spring... Parajanov's dreams, the farewell to the characters of his films, who, along with thousands of fans, see him off to the last journey. The dove emerges from within the grave and flies off towards the immortality. Life is gone... Life is still there, imprinted on celluloid on the Altar of Joy, Beauty and Sadness that Parajanov has created.

A review written for the occassion of the American premiere of Parajanov: The Last Spring at the National Art Gallery in Washington D.C. reads: a spiritual journey into the evolution of the creative mind of one of the greatest filmmkaers of our time...

In giving Paradjanov: The Last Spring its top honor, the jury of the San Francisco International Film Festival wrote: Haunting images...extraordinary sequences...punctuated by the torture of a damned soul...Vartanov's personal connection to the artist brings us to grips with him in a way that abandones information...drawing us into a world where myth meets history and Parajanov himself becomes an allegory for creativity, passion and freedom...

Parajanov: The Last Spring completes Mikhail Vartanov's documentary trilogy with Erased Faces and Minas: A Requiem.

Directed by:
Mikhail Vartanov

Written by:
Martiros Vartanov
Mikhail Vartanov
Sergei Parajanov (The Confession)

Cinematography by:
M. Vartanov
H. Kirakossian

Sound by:
Karen Kurdian
M. Israelian

Edited by:
Svetlana Manucharian
G. Amalbasschian

Still Photography by:
Y. Mechitov
M. Vartanov

Procuded by:
Mikhail Vartanov
Martin Vartanov (2003 version)


Sergei Parajanov
Sofiko Chiaureli
Aleksandr Kajdanovsky
Suren Shakhbazyan
Gayane Khachatryan
Mikhail Vartanov
Suren Parajanov
Svetlana Parajanov
Svetlana Manucharian
Yuri Mgoyan
Leila Alibekashvilli
Irakli Kvirikadze
Silva Kaputikyan
Rezo Chkheidze
Aleksandr Atanesyan
Bella Akhmadulina
Boris Messerer
Edgar Baghdasaryan

55 minutes, 35mm, 1500m, 6 reels
Kodak color/black and white. 1.33.1
Russian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Georgian with
English subtitles (Spanish and Polish also available)

Varda Nova Films [Armenia] (1992)
Mozart Entertainment [USA] (2003) | The Last Spring