Ashik Kerib (film)

Ashik Kerib (Georgian: აშიკ-ქერიბი) ("strange ashik") is a 1988 Soviet art film directed by Dodo Abashidze from Georgia and Sergei Parajanov from Armenia that is based on the short story of the same name by Mikhail Lermontov. It was Parajanov's last completed film and was dedicated to his close friend Andrei Tarkovsky, who had died two years previously. The film also features a detailed portrayal of Azerbaijani culture.

Ashik Kerib
original Russian film poster
Directed byDodo Abashidze
Sergei Parajanov
Screenplay byGia Badridze
Based onAshik Kerib
by Mikhail Lermontov
StarringYuri Mgoyan
Sofiko Chiaureli
Ramaz Chkhikvadze
Konstantin Stepankov
CinematographyAlbert Yavuryan
Music byJavanshir Guliyev
Release date
  • 1988 (1988)
Running time
73 minutes
CountrySoviet Union


An ashik wants to marry his beloved, but her father opposes since he is poor and he expects rich prospects for his 'daughter from heaven'. She vows to wait for him for a thousand days and nights until he comes back with enough money to impress her father. He sets out on a journey to gain wealth and encounters many difficulties, but with the help of a saintly horseman, he returns to his beloved on the 1001st day and they are able to marry.


The entire story is told in a way of Azerbaijan folklore with music and colour playing a key role. Dialogue is minimal and scripts are used to narrate the plot changes. The director included intentional anachronisms such as the use of submachine guns and a movie camera.


Parajanov's previous three major films Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, The Color of Pomegranates, The Legend of Suram Fortress were colourful illustrations of Ukrainian, Armenian and Georgian culture respectively. Ashik Kerib similarly explores traditional Azerbaijani clothes, music, dance, art and customs.


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