The Legend of Suram Fortress

The Legend of the Suram Fortress (Georgian: ამბავი სურამის ციხისა) is a 1985 drama film directed by Georgian SSR-born Soviet-Armenian director Sergei Parajanov and Georgian actor Dodo Abashidze. Sergei Parajanov's first film after 15 years of censorship in the Soviet Union, it is a film stylistically linked with his earlier The Color of Pomegranates (1968): The film consists of a series of tableaux; once again minimal dialogue is used; the film abounds in surreal, almost oneiric power.

The Legend of Suram Fortress
The Legend of Suram Fortress.jpg
Directed byDodo Abashidze
Sergei Parajanov
Screenplay byVaja Gigashvili
Based onSuramis Tsikhe
by Daniel Chonkadze
Produced byGruziya-film
StarringLeila Alibegashvili
Zurab Kipshidze
Dodo Abashidze
Sofiko Chiaureli
Levan Uchaneishvili
CinematographyYuri Klimenko[1]
Edited byKora Tsereteli
Music byJansug Kakhidze
Release date
July 1985 (Moscow International Film Festival)
Running time
88 minutes
CountrySoviet Union/Georgian SSR/Azerbaijan SSR


The story is a retelling of a well-known Georgian folk-tale brought into written literature by the 19th-century writer Daniel Chonkadze.

Durmishkhan is a serf freed by his master. Now, he has to buy the freedom of his lover Vardo to marry her. He leaves his land and encounters a merchant named Osman Agha who tells his story. He was born a serf named Nodar Zalikashvili. After he had lost his mother due to his master's cruelty, he killed his master, fled, and embraced Islam to avoid persecution. Durmishkhan now starts to work for Osman Agha and marries another woman, who gives birth to a boy named Zurab. Meanwhile, Vardo becomes a fortune teller. Osman Agha leaves his trade to Durmishkhan and converts to Christianity. In a dream a group of Muslims kill him for being a murtad.

Zurab grows up and starts to work with his father. Durmishkhan, having converted to Islam, has become a stranger to his land and people. Georgia comes under the threat of Muslim invaders and the king gives orders to bolster all fortresses in the country. However, Suram Fortress continues to crumble. Durmishkhan returns to Muslim territory. King's men come to Vardo the fortune teller to have her solve the mystery of Suram Fortress. Vardo tells that a blue-eyed young man of the country must be bricked up alive in order for the fortress to stand. Zurab sacrifices himself to save his country and its Christian faith.



Cultural referencesEdit

Black metal band Voidcraeft used clips from the film for their song The Vertical Mammal.[3]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit