Special Presentation of Sergei Parajanov's 'Kyiv Frescoes' to Benefit Ukraine

By Kino Lorber | April 1, 2022
Kyiv Frescoes

Streaming Free on Kino Now to
Benefit the Dovzhenko National Centre in Ukraine

4K Restoration of the Surviving Footage of
Parajanov's State Suppressed Lost Film

"In the temple of cinema there are images, light and reality. Sergei Parajanov was the master of that temple."

Kino Lorber is proud to present a special presentation of the 4K restoration of Sergei Parajanov's Kyiv Frescoes, 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.

The 4K restoration was supervised by Daniel Bird, performed by Fixafilm on behalf of the Dovzhenko Centre and Dovzhenko Studios, in 2021.

Kyiv Frescoes Runtime: 15 mins. Total Program Runtime: 35 mins

Kyiv Frescoes

About the Dovzhenko Centre
The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre (Dovzhenko Centre) is the largest Ukrainian film archive with an extensive collection that includes 7,000 feature films, documentaries, Ukrainian and foreign animated films and thousands of archival records from the history of Ukrainian cinema.

Dovzhenko Centre was launched in 1994 based on the largest Soviet Ukrainian film printing factory (founded in 1948), and today it is one of the most dynamic cultural institutions in Ukraine that can boast a wide international representation in the film industry.

Dovzhenko Centre acts as an umbrella for a modern climate-controlled film vault, the only film printing laboratory in Ukraine, a Cinema Museum, a non-film archive, a multimedia library and a publishing department. It stores, promotes, researches and distributes the national film legacy in Ukraine and abroad.

In 2015 the industrial buildings of the centre were refurbished and turned into a public space. For that purpose, an art cluster was created, and now it unites some public initiatives in the field of modern art, namely theatre, music, and book publishing.

Thus, Dovzhenko Centre has become a popular platform for hosting concerts and performances.

The centre is the only member of the International Federation of Film Archives in Ukraine, and in its activities, it aims at applying best practices of such western film institutions as the British Film Institution, EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam, Cinémathèque Française, Filmoteca de Catalunya, etc.

The mission of Dovzhenko Centre is to develop a fresh approach to the conventional history of cinema and history as such, to research the transformation of the national memory, and study the reflection of the artistic and historical processes through cinema.