5 august 2020

Central Asia news

Gulnara Karimova and film: Gerard Depardieu as the latest whim of the Uzbek princess

03.12.2012 21:28 msk

Ferouza Djani, Daniil Kislov


World famous film star Gerard Depardieu has visited Uzbekistan. The actor visited Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand from 26 to 29 November. It seems that the visit made a bright impression on the sixty year old actor. He noted the “unbelievable scenery, richness and a sort of calm in everything” and called Uzbekistan a “country with a great nation.” At least, this is how the Tashkent media quotes Depardieu.

Rumours have now been confirmed that Depardieu will participate in a film project started by the daughter of the Uzbek president Gulnara Karimova. It is a historical teleseries called “Kidnapping of the white cocoon” dedicated to the story of the creation and distribution of silk.

It was previously reported that Depardieu has been given a small role playing a monk. However, now it is said that he will play a Byzantine emperor. The film’s synopsis is based on the idea of Gulnara Karimova and Akbar Hakimov, who has a doctorate in art history. The series will take the audience to Central Asia in V-VI centuries.

“The Great Silk Route has always been of great interest to many. The Chinese invented silk a very long time ago, everybody was interested in their recipe, and there was a time when it could be compared to oil in its value. Gulnara Karimova with Akbar Hakimov have decided to recreate this story and I believe that it is a wonderful idea – to show and recreate those times and understand the secret of creating silk. I, for one, am very interested in this story,” the Uzbek press reports Depardieu saying.

During his visit to Uzbekistan the actor participated in another one of Karimova’s projects: the president’s daughter said through Twitter that she worked with Depardieu in the sound studio, where the Frenchman read poems written by her.

Does the famous actor know whom he is getting involved with? Photo from Gulnara Karimova’s Twitter account

Meanwhile, international human rights NGO Fiery Hearts Club, based in France, has called on Depardieu to refuse to participate in this film, “taking into account the rather repressive nature of Islam Karimov’s regime, in combination with the underlined dubious reputation of the Karimov family and the role played by Gulnara Karimova, a responsible person in this dictatorial regime.” Well known human rights activist Mutabar Tadjibaeva who leads the Fiery Hearts Club, pointed out that the actor could have found out the truth about Gulnara Karimova’s practices and her father’s dictatorial regime before agreeing to participate in Karimova’s project.

“I lament the appearance of popular cultural leaders in the close circle of individuals who have a dubious reputation, to put it lightly,” writes Ms Tadjibaeva. She notes that the salary promised to Depardieu is nothing other than “financial means which were made on the miseries and sufferings of ordinary citizens of Uzbekistan, or laundered through various schemes.”

Does an actor who is so famous, an idol for more than one generation, really not understand that Gulnara Karimova is a figure whose hand cannot be shaken, so to speak? Did Depardieu’s assistants and secretaries not even do an elementary search on the internet before considering the invitation from Uzbekistan?

Photo from Gulnara Karimova’s Twitter account

The world star can explain away his actions by saying that he is eternally far from politics. Yet, today’s globalised world demands the highest standards from cultural icons and social leaders, and these excuses do not work anymore.

We want to remind Mr Depardieu that just one concert in Tashkent seriously damaged the image of British musician Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting. He was subjected to the fiercest criticism from his compatriots for performing for the Uzbek president’s daughter.

It seems that a year later, Sting finally understood that being friendly with Asian rules is not lacking self-respect. The fact that he cancelled his concert in Astana and supported the striking (not yet shot) oil workers managed to save his reputation from total collapse.

It goes without saying that none of the Western stars are “friends” with dictators’ daughters (as a reminder, the French court has officially acknowledged journalists’ right to call Uzbekistan’s president a dictator) for nothing. All of them – beginning with Julio Iglesias and Sting, finishing with Ennio Morricone and Gerard Depardieu – are being paid massive amounts.

However, had Gulnara Karimova been the daughter of an honest millionaire businessman, or at least made her fortune herself, all these whims would have been more than forgivable. Yet, she is the daughter of the head of state, who has grown rich only thanks to her powerful position. All the millions paid to singers and actors, which Gulanara Karimova generously scatters about her, are taken from the robbed population of Uzbekistan, from the raided property of Uzbek entrepreneurs and finally, from the free of charge and forced labour of children and adults on the Asian republic’s cotton plantations.

How much of this money will the famous actor get? Does he know where it comes from? Will he be ready to work more with the Asian dictator’s daughter when he finds out? We intend to ask these questions of Gerard Depardieu personally. His answers will be published on the pages of our site.

Ferouza Djani, Daniil Kislov

Fergana international information agency. Translated by Sophia Matveeva