“Kin-dza-dza!”: the legendary film shot in the Garagum

“Kin-dza-dza!”: the legendary film shot in the Garagum

This summer, Georgiy Daneliya, the fine director, the genius of his era, would have reached the age of 90. Today, along with the classic of Soviet cinema, the anniversary dates of his immortal films are celebrated, including Afonya, Mimino, The Autumn Marathon and the most “fantastic” tragicomedy “Kin-dza-dza!”.

Many older residents of Turkmenistan remember that the shooting of the feature film in the dystopian genre took place in the hot conditions of the Garagum Desert, in the town of Barsagelmes, not far from Balkanabat (then Nebitdag). Having made friends with the film crew, local residents invited the actors and the director to visit them, have a bowl of thirst-quenching green tea. So many memorable photographs, taken during the filming period, are stored in the albums!

Actor Evgeny Leonov, who played the role of chatlanin Uef, was especially popular among fans of the “Kin-dza-dza!” film. The film contains a lot of strange words, but this is precisely its peculiarity. It influenced the Russian language culture by adding fictional words and phrases to the slang of contemporaries, which are still used not only by movie fans.

Even the film title attracts with its “abracadabra”, and nearly every viewer has a question about the meaning of “Kin-dza-dza!”. The fantastic tragicomedy at first was titled “Cosmic dust”. It was until one day director Georgiy Daneliya heard the words of a funny song that was sung by Yevgeny Leonov, who was waiting for the start of filming: “I have a briefcase-case-case, and there is a kindza-dza-dza-dza in the briefcase…”.

Taking note of the words in the strange song, Daneliya soon changed the film title in their favor, thereby creating an intrigue already in the title. The filming of a dystopian story about the fictional galaxy Kin-dza-dza, from the very beginning, was accompanied by curious situations. So it was quite possible to make a comedy about how the tragicomedy was filmed, and it would be just as spectacular and fascinating.

From the memoirs of Stanislav Lyubshin, who played the main role in the film as foreman uncle Vova: “Our team arrived in Krasnovodsk (Turkmenbashy), and the scenery was sent to Krasnoyarsk (Siberia). The film group got into the desert, where we walked for two weeks, waiting for the scenery to be returned. And there it came, and we started shooting, working in a coordinated manner”.

There were troubles with costumes when actress Irina Shmeleva arrived in Balkanabat and it turned out that there was no suit for her at all. But thanks to the resourcefulness of the dressers, that issue was settled.

The actors had a hard time In the desert, affected by sixty-degree heat, and it was the same green tea that helped. There was not enough time to shoot all the necessary episodes during one expedition to the Garagum, so we returned there several times to finish the scenery, arrange special effects. We even managed to get the Ferris wheel, so vividly presented in the film.

The picture took shape for centuries and brought the film crew, in addition to audience sympathy, certain film awards, including a special Jury Prize “For an inventive concept” at the 1987 International Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro. Much later, in 2002, “Kin-dza-dza!” film director Georgiy Daneliya was awarded the Russian Literary Prize “Wanderer” in the nomination “Legend of Fantastic Cinema”.

In 2013, the full-length animated fantastic cartoon “Ku! Kin-dza-dza”, shot according to the literary script of Daneliya and Rezo Gabriadze, came out on wide auditorium release. That was the last directorial work of Georgiy Nikolaevich.

But the film of 1986 sunk so deep into the mind of many people that today there is an active community of film fans in one of the popular social networks of the Internet space, where movie addicts from different countries share stories related to this film. And it is so nice to know that the Turkmen land was an integral part of producing this legendary movie.