Sayat nova 1In recent days the most widespread news related to the Cannes festival in Russian speaking media is about Ukraine, because this country has set up a record with the number of films represented in the festival; there are 8 films. It is stated everywhere that no country has ever taken this many films to Cannes before. Why has Cannes opened its doors for Ukraine so widely, definitely has no need for explanation. Moreover, the theme of Ukraine and especially Maidan is so interesting that for the first time in Cannes’ history the director of the Cannes festival film market has reduced the booth rental fee of Ukraine to half (last year the rental fee was 17,6 thousand euros).

In the Cannes festival Ukraine will represent Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary film ‘Maidan’, Miroslav Slaboshpitski’s full-length feature film ‘The Tribe’, which will participate in the competitions of “Critics’ Week” and “The Best Debut”, and 5 short films, which will participate in the “Short Film” program (by the way, only three of them were shot by Ukrainians, the other two are co-productions).

But it is obvious that the Ukrainians are so excited that they have set up a record with not only the number of films but also with disinformation. It turns out that the 8th film is ‘The Color of Pomegranates’.

The point is that this year in the “Cannes’ Classics” retrospective program of the festival, among 24 films, Sergei Parajanov’s ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ (‘Sayat-Nova’) will be screened, which was restored in L’immagine Ritrovata laboratory, with the initiative of the Film Foundation-World Cinema Project. And because the Ukrainians consider Parajanov a Ukrainian producer, as seen from their news, they have decided that each event connected with him, moreover, screenings of each film made by him, must be considered as Ukrainian people’s gift to the international community of film lovers.

Most part of Ukrainian and Russian sources, referring Andrei Khalpakhchi, the director of “Molodost” festival, who gave a conference on May 7, note ‘The Color of Pomegranate’ among the films represented by Ukraine in Cannes. And several media serve this “information” with quite a surprising style, evaluating the screening of ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ as izyuminka (zest) or zakuski (appetizer) by Ukraine. Hereby;

“The film named ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ shot in remote 1968 and restored in Italy with the American foundation’s money will be screened as so-called izyuminka in the Cannes festival” (Dеlatе novosti).

“Ukraininan mass media reports that in the Cannes’ Classics program Sergei Parajanov’s ‘The Color of Pomegranates’, shot in 1968 in “Armenfilm” studio and recently restored in Italy with the American foundation’s money, will be screened as izyuminka from Ukraine” (Lenta.ru, ‘Zerkalo nedeli’).

“And as zakuski Ukrainian producer Sergei Parajanov’s (whose 90th birthday the world celebrated on January 9, 2014) recently restored ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ remarkable fable-film will be screened in Cannes Classics program (1968) (“Kosmopolskaya pravda of Ukraine”).

Although Parajanov is an Armenian producer, whether our Ukrainian cooperators want it or not, agree with it or not, an Armenian and world classic who has a great contribution in the Ukrainian cinematography as well, and although the above-mentioned foundation closely cooperated with Armenian professionals and used Armenian archives when restoring the film, in any case, Armenian sources have not reserved the right to write that it represents Armenia. They only inform what is reported in the official website of the festival. That is, the film was represented to the festival by the restoring foundation. Ukraine physically would not be able to do something like this, no matter how much it wanted to.

Khalpakhchi underlined in the above-mentioned conference that the Cannes festival “becomes a stage for not only making the Ukrainian film world-famous, but also for the creation of a positive image of Ukraine”. Does he think that by appropriating someone else’s belonging in such a light-handed manner, with such disinformation, it is possible to gain respect and fame? If it was at least about the film ‘The Shadows of the Forgotten Ancestors’, it might somehow be possible if not to justify then to explain this strategy of Ukraine. But, for God’s sake, what connection do Ukraine and Ukrainian film have with an Armenian producer’s film about an Armenian poet Sayat-Nova, shot in an Armenian film studio? The same as each country and each nation. Because, as the Cannes festival also remarks, Parajanov is a world classic, and his creation has long been the property of the world heritage.

Anahit Harutyunyan