Yuri Vasilyev: ten astonishing things in Baku
Soviet and Russian theater and film actor, the People's Artist of Russia, the artistic director of the Yuri Vasilyev Theater, the director of the Satire Theater Yuri Vasilyev shared his impressions of Baku with Vestnik Kavkaza and told how Baku spectators reacted at the film 'Hero' starring Dima Bilan.
- You visited Azerbaijan quite often. The last time was last year, when the film 'Hero' was presented at the Days of Russian Cinema. Can you name ten things that come into your mind when you hear the word 'Azerbaijan'?
- Sun! Hospitality! Tasty food! Good people! Beauty! Sea! Wind! The smell of oil! Music! Children! Astonishment!
And 'astonishment' is one of the most important impressions. I was shocked to see the city changing so much - amazing combination of modernity with antiquity, wide embankments, avenues, people walking there, English cabs at the airport, the airport was absolutely wonderful, the road was amazing!
My first tour in Baku was in 1976. Heydar Aliyev, who admired Andrei Mironov, came to see the play 'The Marriage of Figaro'. Then I lived in the same hotel, which was called Intourist. I remembered this square, the wind, the rapid change in the weather, some sense of amazing happiness. There were fruits and wine in each room. We were taken to the beach, we played volleyball, and I got burned. I slept in the hotel bathroom, because the whole body was on fire. I also remember kvass. On the streets there were barrels with very tasty kvass.
And now there are magnificent modern buildings here, beautiful, well-dressed people. There are a lot of children who run along the embankment. Everything is done for people here. Well, also coffee and, of course, hospitality.
The film 'Hero' was received very well in Baku. I've never seen such success before. After the movie I came to people just to talk with them, answer questions, but they just applauded for four minutes. It was a shock. Then we were singing Muslim Magomayev karaoke songs until 4am. It was a fantastic night that turn into a morning. That's why I always want to visit Baku.
- What do you think caused such reaction of Baku audience to your films?
- Film distribution has almost been destroyed today. Previously, new films were playing from morning till night throughout the Soviet Union, people recognizing both actors and films. And today tickets are expensive, not everyone can go to the cinema. People miss Russian cinema.
Interest was also caused by the fact that the audience saw 'different' Dima Bilan. People went to the cinema directly from a plane with suitcases.
In addition, because of its plot - the film tells about the descendants of the White Guard. This is a theme of two times, genetic memory, somehow touched people. Many asked me how to find relatives who left the country at that time. I said that there are alliances of compatriots, descendants of white emigration. That is, questions were asked not even about the film, but on this topic. And the main message of the film is about how terrible the civil war is. This should never happen again. I pray that friends were not killed by friends.