Minas: A Requeim

PARAJANOV.com - Mikhail Vartanov's film Minas: A Requiem
PARAJANOV.com – Mikhail Vartanov’s film Minas: A Requiem

Vartanov’s requiem for his friend, the modernist painter Minas Avetisyan (Avetisian), who was assassinated by KGB in 1975, 6 years after he first appeared on film (with Sergei Paradjanov) in The Color of the Armenian Land (1969). Back in 1969, the Ministry of Culture, Goskino, and Armenfilm Studios, demanded to delete the scenes with Minas and Parajanov because they were personas non grata. Vartanov refused and was blacklisted.

Parajanov was imprisoned in 1973. Vartanov was fired in 1974. By the time of his assassination, in 1975, Minas had become an icon… After Armenia gained its independence from the Soviet Union in early 1990s, an official government investigation was conducted, which concluded that Minas was indeed assasinated and that great care had been taken by KGB to make it look like an accident.

In this second installment of Vartanov’s trilogy — which began in 1969 with The Color of Armenian Land with the young modernist painter Minas — crowds now mourn his 1975 assassination and commit his body to the ground, while his paintings come alive through the camera of the filmmaker. He finds consolation in the immortality of the beauty his friend has left behind, and the immortality then becomes the central theme of the final installment of the trilogy, the 1992 masterwork Parajanov: The Last Spring.

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