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Restored & Unseen: The Color of Pomegranates (Sayat Nova)

Sergej Paradzanov / SUHH, 1969 / 77 min.

An absorbing portrait of the 18th-century Armenian poet Sayat-Nova which is brimming with metaphors and dreams. Parajanov created a melting pot based on the Armenian and Georgian cultural traditions with their rich religious symbolism and the expressive powers of cinema, the modernist folk art of the 20th century. 

Poster color of pomegranates eye filmmuseum

This classic by Parajanov is not a dramatised portrait of the poet Arutyun Sayadyan, better known as Sayat-Nova (the “King of Songs”), but an associative portrait full of metaphors and dreams, arabesques and still lifes. It is a film designed like an oriental tapestry: quirky and unpredictable in line and colour, but at the same time expressive of great aesthetic harmony. The Color of Pomegranates is also a statement about the Messianic role of the artist, in this case the filmmaker Parajanov, who regarded this film as his finest.

EYE screens the director”s cut of 1969, which is the original version. The print that was previously released in the Netherlands was an –equally long – reedited version made by Sergey Yutkevich in 1973 and authorized by Parajanov after the latter”s director”s cut had been banned in the Soviet Union. Parajanov was subsequently condemned by the authorities and often imprisoned for his critical and non-conformist attitude, both in his work and his life.

Syrian New Waves curator Donatella Della Ratta connects The Color of Pomegranates with the work of the Syrian filmmaker Avo Kaprealian, whose documentary Houses without Doors is screened at 19.00 on 8 september.



Sergej Paradzanov

Production year




Original title

Restored & Unseen: The Color of Pomegranates (Sayat Nova)


77 min.







Part of

Restored & Unseen

At last, a chance to see that Italian classic that’s been on the list for so long? Or relish that wonderful restoration of Blue Movie, the Netherlands’ most talked-about nude film of the seventies, when the Bijlmer district was still a sexual paradise? Restored & Unseen is a biweekly programme featuring classics and recent restorations, with introductions by experts.

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