Parajanov’s Hakob Hovnatanyan on the big screen!


On March 22, the National Portrait Gallery in London will be screening Sergei Parajanov’s film Hakob Hovnatanyan (1967), restored by Fixafilm’s specialists in cooperation with the Armenian National Cinema Centre and the Kino Klassika Foundation. There are also plans to restore other films by the director as part of the joint Hamo Bek-Nazarov Project

The film explores the work of the 19th-century portrait painter, Hakob Hovnatanyan. Parajanov, renowned for his extravagant style, only partially shows us Hovnatanyan’s works, concentrating instead on details of the paintings. In the second half of the documentary, Parajanov presents the historical centre of Tbilisi, where Hovnatanyan used to live and the director himself grew up. 

It is worth mentioning that Hakob Hovnatanyan was made shortly before Parajanov’s most famous film, The Colour of Pomegranates, which showcases the director’s individual style, so esteemed among cinephiles. 

Sergei Parajanov was a Soviet director of Armenian descent, regarded as one of the 20th century’s most outstanding filmmakers. He endured many years of political persecution and was imprisoned for his outspoken opinions and artistic independence. 


Fixafilm invents its own method for eliminating the Dufaycolor effect


Fixafilm’s team of experts had the pleasure of digitally restoring, colour-correcting and mastering the film Calling Mr. Smith, one of the few colour films made during the war. 

Its colour effect was achieved through the Dufaycolor process, a technique which involved coating the film with a filter mosaic lattice of red, green and blue lines. The footage was then processed to produce a colour film crisscrossed with lines.

 This technique is a headache when attempting to project such films on modern digital devices, which clearly display the thin, vertical moiré lines. The Dufaycolor process used on this film was rather a challenge for Fixafilm, since the usual restoration procedures could not be applied. Specifically for this complex footage, Fixafilm’s specialists came up with their own method to remove the effect, thus allowing the film to be restored.

 Calling Mr. Smith, by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, is a propaganda documentary from 1943, commissioned by the Film Office of the Ministry of Information and Documentation of the Polish Government-in-Exile in London. The film aimed to raise British awareness of the Nazis’ crimes against the nations they had conquered. Calling Mr. Smith highlights in particular how culture was being eradicated in the occupied countries. 

The film merges animation with live-action wartime footage. The animated sequences were shot on a specially designed stand using handmade slides, and the soundtrack contains classical music by ChopinBach and Szymanowski