Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday Quote: Sergei Parajanov

Parajanov and Vardanov"I believe you have to be born a director. It's like a child's adventure: you take the initiative among other children and become a director, creating a mystery. You mould things into shape and create. You torment people with your "artistismus" - scaring mother and grandmother in the middle of the night. You dress yourself up like Charlie's Aunt, or as (Hans Christian) Andersen's heroes. Using feathers from a trunk, you transform yourself into a rooster or a firebird. This has always preoccupied me, and that is what directing is.

A director can't be trained, not even in a film school like VGIK (Soviet All-Union State School for Film Art and Cinematography). You can't learn it. You have to be born with it. You have to possess it in your mother's womb. Your mother must be an actress, so you can inherit it. Both my mother and father were artistically gifted."
--Director, writer and artist Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990), in a Kinema interview with Ron Holloway


  1. When I think of the best directors I ever worked with, in stage or on-camera work, they were first, great communicators, and second, enjoyed the same sense of fun they were trying to pull out of their actors. They helped to create a make believe environment and get everyone to inhabit it.

    The worst directors I ever worked with, almost all in video or film, were technicians, preoccupied with lights and cameras and getting the take recorded right. They were clueless as to what actors do and how to get a good performance.

  2. Bernie, it's enlightening to read your take no directing. I wonder what a director like Parajanov, who had an overriding artistic vision that sometimes canceled out the acting (I'm thinking of that painting-as-film, The Color of Pomegranates), was like to work with. It was definitely make-believe, but so elaborately framed! Have you seen Sokurov's The Russian Ark? How on earth does someone pull off a tour-de-force like that?