Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Color of Pomegranates (1968)

Music videos in the 1990s are notable for their excess. Budget could reach five million dollars (a staggering great amount for a four-, five-minute clip). Some were helmed by filmmakers like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Mark Romanek. The latter directed Madonna's lush "Bedtime Story." 

In visualizing a world where fantasy and reality meld, Romanek referenced elements from Sergei Parajanov's The Color of Pomegranates (1968). The result is a complex, abstruse video notable for its dream-like quality and vision. 

Whereas four minutes of phantasmagoric sequences with Madonna is dazzling, 73 minutes of them in succession is a stretch. There's a voice-over at the start of Pomegranates describing what you, the viewer, is about to see: a seemingly never-ending chain of images laced with symbolism and fantasy. It's a warning, "a cautionary advice" of what you're getting yourself into. I didn't take it seriously. It was only after the end credits started rolling that I realized that Parajanov wasn't kidding.