Sergei Parajanov (Sarkis Parajanian)
Photos with Sergei Parajanov
BiographyTiflis, Transcaucasian SFSR, USSR [now Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia]
One of the 20th century's greatest masters of cinema Sergei Parajanov was born in Georgia to Armenian parents and it was always unlikely that his work would conform to the strict socialist realism that Soviet authorities preferred. After studying film and music, Parajanov became an assistant director at the Dovzhenko studios in Kiev, making his directorial debut in 1954, following that with numerous shorts and features, all of which he subsequently dismissed as "garbage". Read more... new talent. He followed this up with the even more innovative The Color of Pomegranates (1969) (which explored the art and poetry of his native Armenia in a series of stunningly beautiful tableaux), but by this stage the authorities had had enough, and Paradjanov spent most of the 1970s in prison on almost certainly rigged charges of "homosexuality and illegal trafficking in religious icons". However, with the coming of perestroika, he was able to make two further films before succumbing to cancer in 1990.