This was utterly fascinating. It's impossible to capture in a paragraph, but for me, this is the logical continuation of what Eisenstein was doing in the color sequences of Ivan the Terrible. I'm not referring to the propagandist elements, but rather the celebration of culture, costume and music. As is often the case with my favorite films, Parajanov takes a simple story (boy meets girl, loses her, suffers), but presents it with such life that it becomes a singular, non-comparable experience. Although it is forty years old and presumably made under strict conditions, his camera work and editing is constantly inventive. Someone on IMDB described it as a roller coaster. This is true, but not in the sense that a summer blockbuster is designed as "a thrill ride". There's a constant sense that he can pull the rug out from under your feet. There's a real sense of excitement here because, even for the most jaded viewer, there's something fresh. This isn't some art house relic. This is vital cinema that deserves a much wider audience.
FYI- This was screened in a supposedly new print as part of a Kino 30th anniversary retrospective. The first half remains heavily damaged, but as it progresses (mostly after the b/w portion), it looked cleaner. The detail levels were generally good, but, the the color looked faded in the early scenes.