where he had signed letters in support of dissidents, he—an
Armenian from Tblissi—was accused of “Ukrainian nationalism.”
His film, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, was pulled from the
screens. The shooting of Kiev Frescoes was indefinitely
blocked on grounds of “bourgeois subjectivism and mysticism,”
by the authorities and shredded. Preserved in that state, they were
returned to him twenty years later. The few tests that remained
intact were to be shown at the 6th Munich International Film
Festival. Intermezzo, another feature length film whose scenario
he wrote…was immediately banned.
to come to Erevan. I am now forty-two… It’s hot. Peaches are
two rubles a kilo.I’m suffocating in schemes and poorly ventilated
hotel rooms, keeping company with cockroaches. I strongly
urge that Sayat-Nova be banned and that I be sent back to Kiev.
I am willing to abandon the cinema. Kiev Frescoes and the
repression of Tarkovsky are more than enough for me.
In the recesses of the room, Anna’s young friends portrayed sexual pleasure,
They embraced a llama.
Sayat sang Majnûn’s love and glorified Laïla’s beauty!