The Legend of Suram Fortress is legendary director, Sergei Parajanov’s first film since his release from the Soviet Gulag prison system. Between the 1960s and 1980s he spent over a decade in the Gulag. Parajanov has made many unique, spellbinding works, not least Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors, The Color Of Pomegranates, and Ashik Kerib. More than any other one of his films, though, The Legend of Suram Fortress shows how Parajanov was wounded, but not killed. He had suffered greatly, but his inner strength prevailed. His hypnotic, colorful style of cinematic poetry could not be crushed.
The film’s plot is based on an ancient Georgian folk tale. In it, Georgia is under attack from a foreign invader. And the Georgian people build Suram Fortress to defend themselves.
However, a fortuneteller says that the fortress will only stand if the finest young man is immured into its walls. This prediction holds true, as each time that they finish building the fortress walls, they immediately collapse.
A young man then steps up and gives himself over to protect his people. Thanks to his sacrifice, the fortress stands and the Georgian people survive in freedom.