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Kyiv Frescoes

Directed by Sergei Parajanov

Release: 1966
Runtime: 31
Country: Ukraine
Language: English, Ukrainian
Director: Sergei Parajanov
Cinematographer: Aleksandr Antipenko

This 4K restoration of Sergei Parajanov’s never-completed Kyiv Frescoes is available exclusively on Kino Now for a limited time to benefit the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre and Film Archive in Kyiv, Ukraine. The program features the newly restored fifteen surviving minutes of Parajanov’s film along with newly filmed supplemental material and will stream for free on Kino Now with a suggested donation to the Dovzhenko Centre. Following the success of Parajanov’s widely celebrated Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Kyiv Frescoes was originally conceived as part of an industry-wide effort to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Germany in World War II. Working with cinematographer Aleksandr Antipenk and indulging in the surreal and balletic style that would become the director’s signature – a radical stylistic shift from Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors – the fifteen minutes of screen test footage that Parajanov delivered were anything but a celebration of military strength. Upon being viewed by the filmmaking authorities of Ukraine and Goskino, the central state film committee in Moscow, the footage was shelved and the project was canceled shortly after. Had it not been suppressed, Kyiv Frescoes might have been Sergei Parajanov’s second masterpiece, but instead remained unseen for twenty years until the footage was rediscovered in Ukraine’s film vaults. The surviving negative is now housed in the Dovzhenko National Centre in Kyiv, Ukraine’s largest film archive, whose thousands of one-of-a-kind elements are now at risk as a consequence of the Russian invasion. In addition to the 4K restoration of Kyiv Frescoes, this special presentation will feature an introduction by film historian James Steffen, author of The Cinema of Sergei Parajanov. The film will be followed by a recorded conversation with Olena Goncharouk, director of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre, speaking from Kyiv to discuss the historical context of Ukraine's ongoing struggle to protect their national cultural identity in the face of military conflict. 


Kyiv Frescoes is available now for a limited time on Kino Now. No payment or membership is required. Viewers are asked to contribute to a GoFundMe campaign to support the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in Kyiv


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Technical Info

  • Color: Color