Tableaux/mise-en-scene symbolically loaded as (Persian renaissance) tarot cards. A fairy tale; a fever dream; the saturated richness of the social imaginary. Insistently disrupts signifiers of identification; effects a suspension of disbelief right where disbelief was blocking access to the apprehension of magic; rails against simplification… of fact vs fiction; of cultures; of ages; of the production of meaning. 4.5
Parajanov and co. evolved toward a refined and unique aesthetic, prizing still cameras and curiously baroque mise-en-scène. The effect is of a conjuring. There is a sense of black magic, of occult or pagan undertaking. THE LEGEND OF THE SURAM FORTRESS uses myth and folk history as a vehicle serving these ends. These films present an opulent bed of riches. Deliciously hallucinatory stuff!
Mesmerising visuals and a strange and captivating tale. But everything absolutely spoiled by the Russian dubbing of the dialogues. There should have been an alert somewhere. At the end of the day, despite the beauty and the intriguing nature of this film, it is simply not possible to enjoy this movie wholeheartedly. But it is not the shortcoming(s) of the directors. Shame!
If you try to view it as a conventional film it might be difficult to grasp it. If you instead watch it as an allegorical tale narrated with actors it is a truly mesmerizing piece, almost trance inducing with great visuals. Some might see it is an orientalist cash-grab, but for me it felt like an homage. BUT a real shame on MUBI for showing this dubbed, and horribly dubbed at that.
Closer to a painting or a theatre play than to a film: A unique aesthetic, very interesting if you are curious about film languages that create distance with the viewer. Also very interesting if you are curious about middle east folklore and art. I never got engaged with it but it was worthwhile. Extra points for the sheep and cattle cast.