Photo: Claddagh, Galway, 1913 — and Paradzhanov

24 Nov

Claddagh woman 1Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 3.41.40 PM

One is so used to the romantic and morosely grey and green landscape of Ireland, that this photo’s opulent color outta the Caucasus or Balkans is a real jolt: the sumptuousness of the red cape and dress, the multi-colored shawl and the blinding white lace of her skirt, her own Black Irish beauty, against the barefoot poverty of the frame. I’ve always wondered how people kept clothes so clean under these conditions — like the dress of my father’s village, below — when so much of it was white.

dropolitisses-sitting

Too bad Paradzhanov (and here) could have never made an Irish film.  So much of his footage bleeds with the super-saturated colors of the traditional clothing (and the men wearing them), and the architecture and artifacts he used in such a fetishistic manner, against a slightly washed out background of grey-green or brown.  The contrast is so bold, as it is in the above photo of the fourteen-year-old Galway girl, that you almost think it’s hand-colored.Asik Kerib 1.jpgimage-w1280

from Sergei Paradzhanov’s Aşık Kerib (1989)

Color of Pomegranates 2 from Sergei Paradzhanov’s The Color of Pomegranates (1969)

Paradzhanov would have had a field day with just one description from Deirdre of the Sorrows, J.M. Synge‘s dramatization of the mediaeval Ulster epic of doomed love: Deirdre has the first premonition of her first and only lover, the handsome Naoise, when she sees a black, black ram having its throat cut and the red, red blood gush out onto the white, white snow.  Read the play to see what happens next; it’s gorgeous.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

 

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