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Antonioni in Uzbekistan

Written by on Monday, 6 January 2014
Culture and History, Uzbekistan
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Recently I was surprised to find that in 1976 the great Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni was going to take off his new movie in Uzbekistan. Moreover, the script was prepared and approved. Antonioni personally visited Uzbekistan, choosing locations for filming. The film was to be called “The Parable of the kite.”

It’s hard to believe, but, really, in the seventies Antonioni was going to work with the “Mosfilm” on subtle and profound philosophical parable about a boy and his kite. His kite flew above the clouds into the space, but he held a thread in his hands.

I’ve learned this story from a brilliant post in Russian Wikipedia, which, in turn, largely based on the memoirs of the Uzbek film director Ali Khamrayev. If you can read on Russian, you will be able to get acquainted with the plot of this unfulfilled movie.

Michelangelo Antonioni

Quoting from this Wikipedia post, according to the memoirs of Tonino Guerra:

Uzbekistan attracted them in the first place because it was “unusual for an eye of the Western audience. New, very beautiful world. “

Antonioni and Tonino Guerra visited Kokand, a desert near Kairakum reservoir, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. Ali Khamraev accompanied Antonion to the tomb of Amir Temur. He says, that maestro knelt before the tomb and said, “So, we met each other, Timur.”

The project, unfortunately, was closed, because the Soviet government insisted on that the negative film should stay with them, it was totally unacceptable for Antonioni.

After Uzbekistan Antonioni visited the Caucasus (Armenia and Azerbaijan), and Azerbaijani filmmakers left literary memories on his visit too (as well as Ali Khamraev). It’s silly, that journalist Aynur Mustafayeva publishing these memories in the first lines makes attempt to humiliate others countries which were visited by Antonioni. She stresses that Antonioni allegedly fell in love only to Azerbaijan. And she completely muddles the film script . In an original version of the script the kite leads spaceships to a new planet , and in Aynur’s version kite causes death of the Earth.

Tonino Guerra has wrote a novel “L’aquilone” which is based on scenario. In 1996, the novel was published with illustrations by Vadim Medzhibovsky. You can read this novel for free there (Russian).

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