Natalia Belokhvostikova: "Azerbaijan is a country of amazing beauty"
Today, when talking about things that changed the rules of geopolitical game in the world, for the first conference of the "Big Three" - Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill - during the Second World War is often remembered. Sometimes 'Teheran-43' movie is also discussed as one of those things. A detective, created by 'Mosfilm', Mediterranee Cinema, Pro Dis Film, starring Alain Delon, Curd Jurgens, Claude Jade, Igor Kostolevsky, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan and Natalia Belokhvostikova was released in 1980.
People's Artist of the RSFSR, winner of two state prizes of the USSR, Natalia Belokhvostikova, discussed the filming process of this movie in Baku, Heydar Aliyev and Sergey Lavrov, as well as about her acting and diplomatic life in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- It's has been more than 35 years since the movie's release. Do you remember how 'Teheran-43' was filmed?
- It was the first Soviet movie, in the filming of which actors of different countries, nationalities and schools participated. We participated in the creation of script together with Armen Dzhigarhanyan, Igor Kostolevsky and Albert Filozov. For example, I came up with my character - Marie.When Curd Jurgens, Alain Delon and Claude Jade joined the filming, those characters have transformed taking into account national features of these actors. For example, when we filmed Delon in Paris, my character suddenly started to speak more quickly. And when I saw how Delon puts on cape I began to move differently.
We filmed fantastic fragments of this movie with Armen Dzhigarhanyan in Azerbaijan. And then, when the movie was already completed, and when our composer and songwriter saw these materials together with my close-ups, it was the moment when 'Eternal Love' song was born. You can hear it everywhere now.
During the filming cast became a real huge happy family. We had a feeling that the actor is a nationality. And it did not matter where you were born or studied. We all are vulnerable, and after director says "stop" we go to him and ask: "Well? How was it? Did we get it or not?". And I have this brotherhood since that movie, thanks to wonderful Armen Borisovich, who creates a new story now. I really believe in it, because this amazing, wonderful character is at the origins of it.
- You mentioned Azerbaijan. What can you say about filming there?
- I fimlmed a lot of movies there, not only 'Teheran-43'. 'Legal Marriage' movie, where I performed with Igor Kostolevsky, was filmed entirely in Azerbaijan. It was filmed in Gobustan. We filmed above mentioned 'Tehran' in Calais. We traveled a lot, and, of course, still have plenty of both positive and sometimes even nervous emotions.
For example, when me and Igor Kostolevsky walked in Gobustan, a nurse with a huge syringe stood next to the camera. It turns out that at the time there was some dangerous period of snakes. She said: "I should not leave your side. If something will bite you, you must immediately get a shot." We begged her to not do it, because this syringe was simply frightening, it was so huge. We tried to bypass everything, even though it wasn't easy, because it was a country of amazing beauty. It is an incredibly beautiful land.
In addition, I must say that I had the most brilliant experience in Azerbaijan. I was sitting next to Heydar Aliyev at the premiere of 'Tehran-43'. I was so nervous, words can't describe it. But what I heard later compensated for all those nerves for the rest of my life. I'm very grateful to him for the fact that he took care of us, watched this movie with us. It was great. It will never happen again.
- So the premiere of this movie was held in Baku?
- In Baku. In colossal hall for several thousand people. We sat side by side, and it was one of the most exciting moments of my life. Yes, and we lived in a residence nearby, and talked to each other every day. Those were wonderful times. I still remember it with such tenderness, gratitude, nostalgia. I understand that it will never happen again, but it was great.
- You're the daughter of a diplomat. Are you in contact with the current diplomatic elite of Azerbaijan?
- Not with the elite of Azerbaijan, unfortunately.
- Perhaps you maintain relations with the Diplomatic Academy?
- I maintain them, but with the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow. First of all, I love Sergey Lavrov, who knew my father. He is amazingly smart and wise diplomat. I really trust him, because it's like he is a continuation of my father, who was an ambassador. Of course, I know a lot of people. I visit MGIMO, I see young people who follow this hard path. I understand that this is a difficult world, closed for everyone. It's special. That is why even after I decided to choose acting profession, after spending my entire life in it, I'm still ambassador's daughter. I'm still this girl that grew up in England, who, perhaps, has slightly different values and perception of the world and life, than those who grew up here.
- Could you tell us more about your experience in Baku and meeting with Heydar Aliyev?
- The main thing is that this city was very friendly towards us, because we filmed there for several months. People who let us into their homes always treated us well. It was like that throughout the entire filming period. This crazy sea, we went out there every morning and watched it. And of course, we had meetings with Heydar Aliyev, an only about movies, but also about life. Those meeting were so wise, they were so heartfelt. I always had a feeling that those were the meetings of people who are very good friends, who knew each other for a long time. It's a special talent, a special gift. I understand that if the person is powerful he is more democratic, he is more easygoing. That is why I still remember those lessons of communication that I had with him. And I'm thankful that they happened. Because if I did not hear the praise from such genius at the end of this colossal work, I would probably have a completely different opinion of my participation in this film. I will always remember the words he said to me, the reaction of the audience - standing ovation for ten minutes. And it's really worth it, believe me.