One of the most influential auteurs of the twentieth century, Armenian film director and screenwriter Sergey Parajanov created an inimitable aesthetic language and some of the most recognizable imagery in the history of cinema. Working between Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia, he gained worldwide fame and critical acclaim for masterpieces such as Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965) and The Color of Pomegranates (1969). A friend of many dissidents and an outspoken critic of the Soviet establishment, he was blacklisted, his films were censored, and he was imprisoned three times on false charges. Persecuted for his sexuality, Parajanov was not afraid to express exuberant sensuality, crafting a mythopoetic style imbued with queer sensitivity avant la lettre. Parajanov’s feature films are stylistic utopias that have the power to transport the viewer into a dreamlike realm, away from the restrictive conventions of socialist realism. In 2019, thanks to documentary film-maker Daniel Bird and the National Cinema Center of Armenia, the never before seen out-takes from the The Color of Pomegranates were presented at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The out-takes and camera tests were scanned and restored by Fixafilm (Warsaw) as part of the Hamo Bek-Nazarov Project. Over a hundred cans of out-takes had survived thanks to the staff of Armenfilm Studio, despite the Soviet authorities ordering the destruction of all material not utilized in the final cut.

Work in the exhibition: Out-takes and camera tests from The Color of Pomegranates (Sayat Nova) (1969), colour video. Courtesy of the National Cinema Center of Armenia and Daniel Bird. The out-takes and camera tests scanned and restored by Fixafilm (Warsaw) as part of the Hamo Bek-Nazarov Project for the installation Temple of Cinema #1: Sayat Nova Outtakes presented as part of Art Directions, International Film Festival Rotterdam (2019)