The institute champions the legacy of the brothers-in-arts Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) & Mikhail Vartanov (1937-2009) who overcame persecution and won the admiration of cinema’s greatest artists.
“The Color of Pomegranates by Parajanov, in my opinion one of the best contemporary film directors, astonishes with its perfection of beauty.”
— MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI
“Vartanov’s film Parajanov: The Last Spring was created under prohibitive conditions and yet exemplifies the power of art over any limitations.”
— FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA
Parajanov directed the masterpieces Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and The Color of Pomegranates.
Vartanov filmed the timeless documentaries of The Last Spring trilogy and The Seasons.
The work of Parajanov and Vartanov, as a director and a cinematographer, respectively, has been voted among the greatest films of all time by BFI.
When Tarkovsky inscribed and sent his child’s drawing to the imprisoned Parajanov who annotated and forwarded it to the blacklisted Vartanov for his son Martiros — Boy with a Movie Camera — he became their disciple and later founded the institute.
From Parajanov & Vartanov letters
“My dear friend Sergei Iosifovich [Parajanov]…as for me, I’m certain that you’ve come into this world to counterbalance mediocrity and swinishness… when I think of you [in prison] I don’t want to live…”
“Vartanov…my brother-in-arts…you possess everthing an artist needs – mind, kindness, principles, freedom… Create…perhaps you’re the only friend who compels me to live…”
Selected Parajanov & Vartanov films
“With the death of Parajanov, cinema lost one of its magicians. Parajanov’s fantasy will forever fascinate and bring joy to the people of the world…”
“Vartanov’s film, Parajanov: The Last Spring, about the last days of our great Parajanov, excited and filled me with strength to resume the way of the magnificent tale that the Maestro had taken.”
— TONINO GUERRA
“In the temple of cinema there are images, light and reality. Sergei Paradjanov was the master of that temple…”
— JEAN-LUC GODARD
“…Mikhail Vartanov…made a wonderful film Parajanov: The Last Spring…”
— MARTIN SCORSESE
“Always with huge gratitude and pleasure I remember the films of Sergei Parajanov, which I love very much. His way of thinking, his paradoxical poetical… ability to love the beauty and ability to be absolutely free within his own vision.”
— ANDREI TARKOVSKY
“Probably, besides the film language suggested by Griffith and Eisenstein… cinema has not discovered anything revolutionarily new until (Parajanov’s) The Color of Pomegranates…”
— MIKHAIL VARTANOV
“My dear friend (Vartanov)…should you like the (screenplay) Desert, together we could make a masterpiece…”
— ARTAVAZD PELESHIAN
“We have to ensure that the work of seminal artists like Vartanov is preserved…his films…made under the harshest conditions…are crucial to the important heritage of world cinema.”
— AGNIESZKA HOLLAND
— WILLIAM SAROYAN