Sergei Parajanov (Armenian: Սարգիս Հովսեփի Փարաջանյան Sargis Hovsepi Parajanyan; Russian: Сергей Иосифович Параджанов Sergej Iosifovich Paradzhanov; also spelled Paradzhanov or Paradjanov), (January 9, 1924 – July 20 1990), is considered by many to be one of the most original and critically-acclaimed filmmakers of the 20th century. His work reflected the ethnic diversity of the Caucasus where he was raised.
He was born to Armenian parents Iosif Paradjanyan and Siranush Bejanyan, in Tbilisi, Georgia. In 1945, Parajanov traveled to Moscow, enrolled in the directing department at VGIK, one of the oldest and highly respected film schools of Europe, and studied under the tutelage of directors Igor Savchenko and Aleksandr Dovzhenko.
In 1950 Parajanov married his first wife, Nigyar Kerimova in Moscow. She came from a Muslim Tatar family and converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity to marry Parajanov, to terrible consequences: she was later murdered by her relatives in retaliation for her conversion. As a result of this tragic event Parajanov moved to Kiev. There he produced several documentaries (Dumka, Golden Hands, Natalia Uzhvy) and a handful of narrative films based on Ukrainian and Moldovan folktales, such as Andriesh, Ukrainian Rhapsody, and Flower on the Stone. He became fluent in Ukrainian, remarried (Svetlana Ivanovna Sherbatiuk in 1956) and had a son (Suren, 1958).