Sergei Paradjanov was a filmmaker of incredible sensitivity and had a joy for life. This could not be taken from him even after he was imprisoned by the Soviet government for homosexuality and trafficking in art objects. During his imprisonment, he wrote the story on which this movie is based and which, after his death, was made by Yuri Ilyenko.
Unfortunately, the joy was taken from it and the feeling of hope, leaving only the despair and suffering. The film is rife with excessive violence which is right on target if the entire purpose of the story was to show man's gradual insensitivity to pain and suffering.
It still leaves out the sense of hope from the original story, however, which will leave Paradjanov fans feeling cheated.