LOS ANGELES TIMES
“…Exemplifies the power of art over any limitations…”
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA
Made in wartime and edited in candlelight, Mikhail Vartanov‘s rarely-seen masterpiece tells about his friendship with the genius Sergei Parajanov who was imprisoned by KGB at the “at the peak of his artistic power.”
Vartanov takes us back with the scenes from his censored 1969 film The Color of Armenian Land where Paradjanov is at work on The Color of Pomegranates – widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time — juxtaposed with the shocking request Paradjanov sent him in unpublished 1974 letters from the Soviet prisons.
Vartanov’s camera documents Parajanov’s striking last day at work in 1990 during the making of the unfinished Confession — the original camera negative of which survives in Parajanov: The Last Spring — as Parajanov comments on this cherished autobiographical work.
A breathtaking wordless montage — the entire sixth reel — concludes Vartanov’s acclaimed documentary, his final film, and his most important work, which, despite the prohibitive conditions it was created in, won the admiration of many of cinema’s greatest artists, including Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.
Parajanov: The Last Spring caused a sensation at its premieres in Russia and Armenia, and influcenced numerous future books, writings and films, not least because Vartanov demistified Paradjanov’s misunderstood cinematic language in just few wise sentences.
The legendary Tonino Guerra, the screenwriter of Fellini’s Amarcord, Antonioni’s Blowup and Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia, attended the Russian premiere of Paradjanov: The Last Spring and wrote:
“Vartanov’s film, 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…”
— TONINO GUERRA
An excerpt from Vartanov’s own introduction for the film reads: “The Last Spring… Paradjanov’s farewell to the characters of his films, who, along with thousands of fans, see him off on the last journey. A dove emerges from within the grave and flies off towards the immortality…”
Paradjanov: The Last Spring (which completes a documentary trilogy with The Color of Land and Minas: A Requiem) has garnered praise from American and European film critics who have emphasized that extraordinary achievment of Vartanov’s masterwork is that it “evokes the very soul” of the genius.
ALL MOVIE GUIDE
FINNISH FILM ARCHIVE
“This film is a gift… a treasure for the soul… Here, the art of cinema reveals its very best qualities…”
— ALEKSANDR GORDON
(co-director of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Killers)
“I saw that Paradjanov wasn’t alone, he had Vartanov, like Jean Vigo who had Boris Kaufman…”
— LUCE VIGO
“A spiritual journey into the evolution of the creative mind of one of the greatest filmmakers of our time…”
— NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, Washington (1994)
“To come up with this approach, to construct it in this way, find words like this…could have done only a true friend and a real artist.”
— NORA VERKHOVETZ, Kovcheg (1993)
“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.”
— VLADIMIR BADASIAN, Respublica (1993)
“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.”
—SAMVEL SHAKHBAZIAN (poet)
Still Photography by:
55 minutes, 35mm, 1500m, 6 reels
Kodak color/black and white. 1.37:1
Russian, Armenian, Ukrainian, Georgian with
English subtitles (Spanish and Polish also available)
Varda Nova Films [Armenia]
Paradjanov-Vartanov Institute [USA]
Perreault, L. Paradjanov – Last Spring (La Presse, a12, 14 June 1994)
Thomas, K. Intoxicating spirit (Los Angeles Times, e22, 1 January 2004)
Hollywood Reporter. Francis Ford Coppola recognizes… (20 October 2015)
Schneider, S. 501 Movie Directors (ISBN 9781844035731), London, 2007
Busan IFF. The Eternal Travelers for Freedom, Busan, South Korea, 2012
Dixon and Foster. A Short History of Film (ISBN 9780813542690) NJ, 2008