“Dovzhenko…told me…to read less…observations…are more interesting than…books…“
Over a dozen of books have been written about the legendary filmmaker and artist Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990). While collectively they contain a great deal of fascinating and invaluable information, most are flawed and superficial just like – with a couple of exceptions – the countless documentary films about Paradjanov. The best books are still those that almost entirely contain the collection of Parajanov screenplays and the letters from the prison (in Russian). Their value, of course, is chiefly thanks to Maestro himself, his writings, and his artworks.
The depth and the point of view necessary to understand this artist — which, for example, Parajanov’s favorite painter Gayane Khachatryan and his close friend Mikhail Vartanov could deliver, but who have not had the opportunity or support to publish any books — has generally not been achieved in the books that were published.
The first outstanding book is by photographer Yuri Mechitov – Sergei Parajanov: The Chronicle of the Dialogue – published in 2009. With depth, modesty and great accuracy, the author transforms the reader into the world of Sergei Paradjanov and his final decade in the home town of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, and the Caucases. Yuri Mechitov succeeds in presenting the simple and the wonderful post-prison world of the blacklisted and unemployed Paradjanov, who is ultimately allowed to direct, and whose departure from Tbilisi leave this city, the author, the friends and the fans without one of the brightest lights they had ever seen shine.
Please contact Yuri Mechitov to inquire about purchasing his book of great photographs and stories about Parajanov and Tbilisi. This is a 465 page treasure.
This huge book is titled 501 Movie Directors: A Comprehensive Guide to the Greatest Filmmakers and it places Sergei Paradjanov in good company. The book, edited by Steven Jay Schneider, has 640 pages and is available here. There is an American hard cover edition with Spielberg on the cover and a British soft cover edition with Hitchcock on the cover. The text is identical in all editions.
Short History of Film by Dixon & Foster
This book covers the entire history of cinema including the work of Parajanov & Vartanov. There is soft cover edition and the more rare hard cover edition.
Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema by Rollberg
This is a hard cover with over 800 pages. There is a soft cover version as well, sometimes under the title of A to Z of Russian and Soviet Cinema.
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