Director Sergei Paradjanov made a practice of making highly idiosyncratic films based on the folklore of regions in the former Soviet Union. In 1969 he made this film, based in part on the life of the 18th-century Armenian poet, Sayat Nova ('The King of Song'). Renowned for his writings and his religious lifestyle, Sayat Nova became a martyr when he grew too influential for the authorities to control. Seriously out of favor with Soviet governmental bureaucrats, this film was not seen in the international arena until 1977. Then, The Color of Pomegranates was widely acclaimed for its poetic and non-narrative blending of historical and biographical Armenian imagery.