Though unanimously hailed by international critics as one of the most significant forces in 20th century Eastern European cinema, Georgian filmmaker Sergei Paradjanov paradoxically completed only a scant few motion pictures during his lifetime. Paradjanov lived until his 66th year, but lengthy periods of incarceration kept the director out of commission (thanks to his dissident political attitudes) and made it impossible for him to complete a sizeable body of work.
Born March 18, 1924, in Tiflis (then the capital city of Georgia), to Armenian parents, Paradjanov originally intended to become a vocalist, and his education (at the Tiflis Conservatoire between 1942-1945) pointed him in this direction. Yet in 1945, he shifted course and enrolled in VGIK, Moscow's State Institute of Cinematography, where he became a protégé of the legendary Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko. That giant pointed Paradjanov to Ukraine's Kiev Studios after Paradjanov graduated, where the new director helmed at least five Ukrainian language features between 1954-1964: Andriesh (1954), Dumka (aka The Ballad, 1957), Pervyy Paren (aka The First Lad, 1959), Ukrainskaya Rapsodiya (aka Ukrainian Rhapsody, 1961), and Tsvetok na Kamme (aka Flower on the Stone, 1962).