chapter  9
21 Pages

Gender, sex, and the fantasy of the non-expressive in Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates

WithJustin Weir

The complexity of Sergei Parajanov's masterpiece The Color of Pomegranates is well known. The Color of Pomegranates is a poetic portrayal of the life of Sayat-Nova, an Armenian poet-troubadour of the eighteenth century. Parajanov's treatment of gender is part of a much larger anti-conventional, experimental impulse that propels the film. By focusing on the surfaces of androgyny, Parajanov alludes to a fundamental creative dimension in the constitution of gender identity. Parajanov's precursor in using the expressivity of the face to theorize film meaning through scopophilia is therefore more likely Dziga Vertov. Vertov's The Man with the Movie Camera provides a model and counter-example to the affectless expressions in Parajanov's The Color of Pomegranates. The camera in The Color of Pomegranates simply does not move around in the ways we expect it to, and so the film reveals little interest in "a diegetic world beyond the edges of the frame."