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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

224 of 1001 Movies: The Color of Pomegranates (1968)

It's one of the shortest movies that seemed it would never end. If you like very artsy and surreal movies then you'll enjoy Sergei Parajanov's movie. Most of the movie avoids dialogue and instead lives out the story through images and silent scenes. Unless you go and read a rough layout of the movie beforehand you may have no idea what the movie is trying to even do. Regardless, this movie is meant for a certain type of viewer, and if you think it's bad then whatever, I'm not that type of viewer for this.

Summary: The Color of Pomegranates is the biography of an Armenian troubadour, King of Song. Instead of conveying his life through narration that is more usual, we see his life as the poet would most likely conduct his story in a poetic way. The poet grow's up, discovers feelings toward women, falls for a woman, explores his own faith by joining a monastery, and then his death. While using the same actor for many roles the poet's life is depicted with the artistic imagination of the director, and passages from the poet's writing.


Acting: Why hire other characters when you can just use Sofiko Chiaureli for most the roles in the movie. They do go out of their way to have to pull out some huge costumes and makeups, but Chiaureli seems very androgynous, so this helps when he is playing the poet and the poet's lover at one point. For me though I just didn't see much acting going on. There were some cool scenes where the actor's have to do visually striking artistic stuff, but outside of this could they potentially act? Maybe.

Filming: With film you naturally get some vivid colors, and the color does pop. The movie also uses some interesting effects to make the scenes almost look eerie. I don't think the intention was eerie but with the heavy white makeup and the darkened eyes the jilted way of story telling just came off a bit spooky instead. There are also title cards with the poet's words, and this is a great idea, but I feel no connection to the poet with such a disconnected way of telling the story.

Plot: There is a plot, but I don't know how many people could watch the movie and just follow the plot unless you're very aware of the poet's life. Plus, the scenes are just going more for almost painting and still images of his life than telling a story. Unless this type of story telling is something you can get into then I can't see many going to see this movie. There are those who will love it for it's unique way of looking at someone's life who might have appreciated that his life was told in this fashion since it reflects much of his writing.

The Color of Pomegranates can be admired for it's way of going another path and wanting to just make a movie that reflected who it was being made about. I'm sure much of the story telling idea is the director's style as well. For me the movie just wasn't enjoyable to watch. I wouldn't have learned anything much about the poet except a few pieces of his poems had I not went outside the movie to read what each spot of the movie was conveying to the viewer.

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