15 july 2020

Central Asia news

A WW-II movie filmed in Uzbekistan

28.01.2006 15:33 msk

Sid Yanyshev


The shooting of motion picture Vatan [Motherland] at Uzbekfilm studios is over. Director of the movie is Zulfikar Musakov (The Bomb, Abdullajon, Boys In Heaven).

Uzbek motions pictures on the subject of World War II can be counted on the fingers of one hand. There was one about General Rakhimov but apparently no pictures described ordinary soldiers many of whom never returned from the front.

The plot of the new motion picture resembles an episode from Two Captains, a novel by Kaverin. Two friends love one and the same girl. She promises to marry one of them. The friends are drafted into the army and the one the girl promised to marry disappears (he ends up in a concentration camp). The other man eventually returns from the front, tells the girl that her fiance was killed, and asks her to marry him. Determined to wait for her lost love to reappear, she refuses.

The war ends and the main character finds himself in one of Stalin's camps. Once the news reached her, the girl undertakes a perilous journey to Siberia where she dies. The other friend immigrates to the United States and establishes a business venture there. The main character returns from the camp, discovers the scope of treachery, and goes to America to take revenge on the traitor.

Residents of Uzbekistan and perhaps other countries will find out what the saga ends in this spring, on the eve of the V-Day anniversary. For the time being, the motion picture has to be edited yet. Some tricky work with dubbing will be needed as well because the director wants all characters speaking their native tongues (Uzbek, Russian, and German). The actors playing fascists will be dubbed by actual Germans. Many of them are fairly prominent actors. Nazim Tulyakhodzhayev better known as director in his own right played the part of an officer of a Turkestani legion, Sergei Genkin and Valery Kirdyashev starred as General Vlasov and a Wermacht officer.

Scenes of the motion picture were filmed in Uzbekistan and the United States. A bona fide concentration camp was built in the Uzbekfilm studios. The picture's only battle episode was filed in Chirchik environs near Tashkent. Soviet battle fatigues were found in the store-rooms but the German ones were made especially by specialists of the Tashkent Military College. Characters wield bona fide Schmeisser and PPSh automatic weapons. (Kirdyashev says that there are enough of them in the stores to arm a whole battalion, all of them perfectly preserved and functional.)

"I played cops, thieves by statute, commissars, and gangsters in my 20 years in motion pictures, but never a fascist. It was a very interesting experience, and my colleagues agree with me," Kirdyashev said. "Not all of them understood, however, that a fascist is not necessarily a sadist or a beast as they were depicted in caricatures and in Soviet movies. Fascists are human beings too, with their own human joys and problems, and playing the part requires professionalism too..."

An experienced stuntman, Kirdyashev had to teach his younger colleagues the art of "stopping bullets", i.e. the art of playing a character hit with a bullet. "There was one episode when I was executing four prisoners, a young man and three girls. Komsomol members, of course," Kirdyashev said. "The girls were from the Theater College, there were no problems with them or with how they played. The guy was different. He was not a professional at all. Again and again he could not properly respond to my "shooting" him. I did not even fire at first, just imitated the shot and recoil, and that was a waste of time. The kid did all right only when I loaded a blank and fired it. Once he heard a noisy report, he fell and "died" passably."