The Legend of Suram Fortress

This was Sergei Paradjanov's first film following a fifteen-year enforced silence. Codirected by Dodo Abashidze, it is based on a Caucasus Mountains legend that tells of the repeated efforts of the Georgian people to construct a fortress against invaders. The fortress continues to collapse until a fortune-teller recalls a prophecy that a handsome young man must be walled inside alive in order for the building to stand. The son of her own lover is the sacrificial lamb. The story, at once simple and marvelous (in the literal sense), unfolds in a circular rather than linear manner, and its mythic possibilities are realized most wondrously in the film's visuals. Legend is exquisite in the manner of a painted miniature, with the jewel-like colors and decor of a medieval illuminated manuscript.

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