To the anniversary of the “White Sun of the Desert” release: about filming in Turkmenistan

To the anniversary of the “White Sun of the Desert” release: about filming in Turkmenistan

The Soviet Eastern “White Sun of the Desert” was released on March 30, 1970. This is one of the most famous films in the history of Soviet cinematography about the adventures of Red Army soldier Fyodor Sukhov, who saved from bandit Abdullah his harem during the civil war.

The film was shot by director Vladimir Motyl according to a script by Rustam Ibragimbekov and Valentin Yezhov at the Experimental Creative Film Studio, established at the production base of the Mosfilm and Lenfilm studios, headed by film director Grigory Chukhrai.

The shooting and release of the film was hampered by many circumstances, and the final decision on the film’s fate was made personally by General Secretary of the CC CPSU Leonid Brezhnev. During the year, the film was watched by more than 35 million viewers, and quotes from it became catchwords.

Filming lasted two years and took place in Dagestan, Tajikistan, and mostly in Turkmenistan, on the Caspian Sea coast in the vicinity of Khazar (Cheleken) city, the Balkan Region and Bayramali city, the Mary Region, where it was very hot that was hard for women of the “harem” to endure.

To alleviate their situation, it was decided to bring into play soldiers from a nearby military unit in the episodes where they did not open their faces. Thin warriors put up women’s dressing gowns with a burqa and mincingly marched through the desert (although they all the time wanted to switch to the combat step).

The soldiers’ help once again came in very handy for... weeding the desert. The matter is that it often rained in the Garagum Desert in winter, and tall grass grew. There was no “bare sand” for filming in the area of hundreds of kilometers. And then film director Vladimir Motyl arranged with the army authorities for soldiers to weed tens kilometers of desert in Bayramali district for several weeks.