Sergei Parajanov

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jsteffe
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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#151 Post by jsteffe » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:08 pm

Two brief items:

Joshua First's book on Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is indeed excellent. It is the most comprehensive account that I have seen of that film to date (including my own book on Parajanov). One thing that sets First's book apart is all of the research he did in Ukrainian archives. His extended close reading of the film is full of revealing details.

Second Sight has announced that they are releasing The Color of Pomegranates on Blu. It will be an essential purchase, I am sure. (They will reveal more details in due time.)

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#152 Post by jsteffe » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:13 pm

One more item to follow up on an earlier post from 2015:
jsteffe wrote:If you live in the L.A. area, the Hammer Museum at UCLA will be screening the restored version of The Color of Pomegranates on December 15 at the Billy Wilder Theater. I will be there for a Q&A together with the filmmaker Carla Garapedian. More details here.
The link contains an archived video of the Q&A session, if you are interested.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#153 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:57 pm

Thanks for the link to the video, James! Hopefully we see more of your participation in these forthcoming releases

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#154 Post by MichaelB » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:10 am

I'm thrilled about the Second Sight news, not least because they were the only label who did the film proper justice on DVD - and I assume all their superb extras will automatically be ported across.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#155 Post by jsteffe » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:50 pm

If you live in the Atlanta area, Emory University will be screening the restoration of The Color of Pomegranates on DCP on October 12. I will be introducing it. More details soon...

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#156 Post by jsteffe » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:36 pm

We're still in the process of getting the publicity up, but in the meantime here is a Facebook event page for the upcoming screening of The Color of Pomegranates in Atlanta.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#157 Post by durkheim » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:30 pm

I finally watched the new restoration of Sayat Nova (thanks Filmstruck!) and I was struck by a few things: first, the restoration is a huge improvement and I'd highly recommend watching it if you haven't.

Also, James: there's some spoken Turkish at around 29:45 of the film. It's not subtitled, and I'm pretty sure it's the only bit of Turkish in the film. Do you know what it's doing there? Also, I think what he's holding in that scene is in Ottoman Turkish (but I'm not sure). Do you know if this has been translated or transcribed by anyone, and why it's not included in the subtitles? Just curious. Thanks.


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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#159 Post by jsteffe » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:36 pm

durkheim wrote:I finally watched the new restoration of Sayat Nova (thanks Filmstruck!) and I was struck by a few things: first, the restoration is a huge improvement and I'd highly recommend watching it if you haven't.

Also, James: there's some spoken Turkish at around 29:45 of the film. It's not subtitled, and I'm pretty sure it's the only bit of Turkish in the film. Do you know what it's doing there? Also, I think what he's holding in that scene is in Ottoman Turkish (but I'm not sure). Do you know if this has been translated or transcribed by anyone, and why it's not included in the subtitles? Just curious. Thanks.
durkheim, I apologize for never replying. I've been busy the past couple of of months and haven't been following this thread. Among other things, I worked on multiple features for the upcoming UK Blu-ray release for the THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES / SAYAT-NOVA by Second Sight. I have to say that the disc's producer, Daniel Bird, is putting together a fantastic package. I am proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to it.

Yes... the audio is a Turkic language, most likely Azeri Turkic, and the sewn inscription matches it, as far as I know. It's the same sentence repeated in Armenian, Georgian and Azeri: "You abandoned us and went away, but we the living wrapped you in a cocoon, so that in your new world you would burst forth like a butterfly." Parajanov did this because Sayat-Nova wrote poems in all three languages.

I agree that the new restoration turned out well, though I and some other people have noticed that the audio does not completely match the original Armenian version in a few places, and the drumming is messed up at around 33:55. From what I understand the audio is getting fixed as much as feasible for the home video releases of the restoration. I suspect that the image will look sharper on Blu-ray too, though the FilmStruck streaming version looks fine and it's nice that they made it available already for people to look at.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#160 Post by jsteffe » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:38 pm

I'm curious to hear how this turns out! If anyone manages to see it, please post something here.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#161 Post by L.A. » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:22 am

Besides Andriesh, does any of Parajanov’s work what he did in the 1950s survive?

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#162 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:38 am

I think all the features do, but they're much more conventional than what came later.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#163 Post by jsteffe » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:08 am

Yes--only his diploma film, A MOLDAVIAN FAIRY TALE (1951), is lost. It was based on the same story as ANDRIESH, but apparently title role of the shepherd boy was performed by a puppet.

The scholar Garegin Zakoyan also mentions a missing short entitled CHILDREN - TO KOMITAS, but I haven't found any other mention of it.

Aside from that, his entire filmography survives and is available through various sources.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#164 Post by L.A. » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:06 pm

MichaelB wrote:I think all the features do, but they're much more conventional than what came later.
jsteffe wrote:Yes--only his diploma film, A MOLDAVIAN FAIRY TALE (1951), is lost. It was based on the same story as ANDRIESH, but apparently title role of the shepherd boy was performed by a puppet.

The scholar Garegin Zakoyan also mentions a missing short entitled CHILDREN - TO KOMITAS, but I haven't found any other mention of it.

Aside from that, his entire filmography survives and is available through various sources.
Thank you both! :)

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#165 Post by jsteffe » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:47 pm

Disappointing news: I was able to study the vintage Orwo color print from the Harvard Film Archive that L'Immagine Ritrovata referenced for World Cinema Project's 2014 restoration of THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES, and the color in the restoration significantly departs from that of the print. It also does not match the other 35mm prints that I have seen over the years. The main problem is a pronounced teal or yellow color bias in many shots, similar to what others here have pointed out on some L'Immagine Ritrovata restorations. In my view, this restoration’s color grading needs to be redone. I will be writing about it in more detail shortly.

This is, of course, the same restoration that was licensed for home video release in the UK and UK.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#166 Post by tenia » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:26 am

Thanks for the (sad) findings, James. Is one of the cut further away from the print ?

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#167 Post by jsteffe » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:48 am

tenia wrote:Thanks for the (sad) findings, James. Is one of the cut further away from the print ?
If I understand correctly what you are asking, it has to do with the two versions on the Second Sight Blu-ray. Their presentation of the Yutkevich version does mitigate the unnatural teal hue of the WCP restoration. The difficulty is that it was assembled from the WCP restoration, since there is currently no separate restoration of the Yutkevich version, so it cannot solve all of the visual problems in the underlying restoration. The film still needs to be regraded from scratch.

There is still no definitive - or even near-definitive - version of the film available on home video. Despite the inherent shortcomings in the video master of the restoration that they were obligated to use, both the Second Sight and Criterion Collection editions are valuable for the special features. The Criterion Collection edition also has newly commissioned subtitles which are far more complete than anything we have seen before.

I hope that the film itself is done justice someday.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#168 Post by tenia » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:21 pm

jsteffe wrote:
tenia wrote:Thanks for the (sad) findings, James. Is one of the cut further away from the print ?
If I understand correctly what you are asking, it has to do with the two versions on the Second Sight Blu-ray.
Exactly. It seems like the 2 versions on the Second Sight BDs don't have the exact same gradings, though they share obvious similarities. The Parajanov cut, from what I understand, is the one mostly relying on the Orwo print, so I supposed this is what you mostly compared the print to, but I was curious where both versions lies vs the print.
In any case, that's very unfortunate, though I'm eager to read your additional detail about the whole thing.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#169 Post by jsteffe » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:33 pm

Here are my observations on the problems with the color and sound in the restoration of THE COLOR OF POMEGRANATES

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#170 Post by Petty Bourgeoisie » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:50 am

Another pricey disc to be added to the "Steel Blue" section of my collection. :( I'll put it right next to Kino's blu ray of Resnais' Je t'aime Je t'aime.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#171 Post by tenia » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:10 am

I'd argue it's not like Je t'aime je t'aime. Je t'aime looks very cold, with metallic blues all over the place. It reminds me of what Eclair does with some of their restorations (Tchao pantin, La femme de mon pote, Un homme à abattre, etc). The Colour of Pomegranates, however, looks too warm, a typical aspect of Ritrovata color gradings (ex : Dragon Inn / A Touch of Zen, Marriage Italian Style, Rome 60 - The Grand Olympics, The 10th Victim, etc).
In the end, both styles of gradings seem improperly recurring, so the end results most likely are as debatable in one case or the other, but color-wise, they don't look the same to me.

In any case, I hope James' findings will serve as a wake-up call for the industry to question what is happening with these gradings. I've emailed myself L'immagine Ritrovata's French branching about this in early February, asking how come all these movies end up graded the same despite all the different reference prints or guidance the restorers get, but sadly, while they told me they forwarded my email to Ritrovata's direction, I've yet to receive an answer.

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#172 Post by RobertB » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:55 pm

This article might be of interest. Davide Pozzi from Ritrovata is quoted as saying "You still have to discount half of what they say because they might want to change their work ex post, in particular if it was their debut film. Both Olmi for The Tree of Wooden Clogs and Bellocchio for Fists in the Pocket were inclined to re-elaborate the look of their films, and we had to persuade them not to do it." This does seem to indicate that what they did with The Tree of Wooden Clogs was against the wishes of Olmi. Even if it was then released as approved by him.

edit:
Someone who is better with that can perhaps help me how to post? The url is http://news.cinecitta.com/EN/en/news/11 ... ovata.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Sergei Parajanov

#173 Post by jsteffe » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:36 pm

What Davide Pozzi says in the article make sense to me about relying on original prints whenever possible. Even that can have limitations, but it is arguably the most objective evidence. Memories can be faulty, especially for films that were made decades ago, and people's thoughts about their own work may change over time.

Actually, the issue may be more complicated than it appears on the surface. As I write in the updated version of my blog post, a few of my colleagues have speculated that the color shifts may have to do with problems in color management workflow. Thus, for instance, it is possible that the colorist may be visually matching the color on the reference prints, including for this particular restoration, but a LUT somewhere in the workflow may shift the color on the actual output.

If would not surprise me if that is what happened in this case.

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