Andriesh is Sergei Parajanov‘s first surviving film (an expanded version of his lost student film The Moldavian Tale). It is based on a book by Yemelian Bukov about a boy shepherd Andriesh (Konstantin Russu) who receives a gift of a magic flute which helps him in his journey to the castle of the evil sorcerer whom Andriesh must defeat. Co-directed by Yakov Bazelyan in 1954 this 63 minute feature was was shot in color by Suren Shahbazyan (Shakhbazyan) who later lensed Paradjanov’s masterpiece Sayat Nova (The Color of Pomegranates).

andriesh – Andriesh, the first feature by Sergei Parajanov

I once saw Andriesh on a big screen at LACMA in Hollywood after they projected a new 35mm print of Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors. Mikhail Vartanov was at the hospital and I was hoping he’d recover in time, but he didn’t and I ended up driving to LACMA by myself. A couple of years earlier we were there together when Michelangelo Antonioni visited with his wife Enrica. We gifted them a copy of Parajanov: The Last Spring and photographed them (Papa did it with his first little digital camera and I still used my 35mm Nikon). But now alone, I sat in the last row and Andriesh very simply transported me back to childhood when many similar fairy tales in theaters and TV offered an exciting break from the boredom of the omnipresent propaganda. A few more years later I was in the same theater at LACMA again.

Martiros M. Vartanov