Marcello Mastroianni’s unforgettable time in Georgia
16 May, 2015
Marcello Mastroianni’s unforgettable time in Georgia
“Mastroianni was muttering to himself that he had never been received with such love in Italy…”

Marcello Mastroianni, a famous Italian actor, visited Tbilisi in the 90’s. According to a well-known Georgian movie director Eldar Shengelaia, during his visit he was hosted by an equally special family: playwright Rezo Tabukashvili and actress Medea Japaridze. The festive evening in his honor was attended by various actors and performers of Georgian film and theater, including the “Blue Trio” ensemble.

Sergei Parajanov gifted
Mastroianni with a pair of shoes. Marcello took them and wrote “Marcello” on one shoe and “Mastroianni” on the other. Then he gave the shoes back to Sergei and told him to walk on his hands in the street so that everyone could see his autograph on the soles.

According to the photo’s description, the evening was significantly brightened by three Georgian women: Liana Asatiani, Lia Eliava and hostess Medea Japaridze herself. Even Mastroianni, who has been around the block a bit, was impressed by their beauty.

Eldar Shengelaia himself reveals the story of Marcello Mastroianni’s visit to Georgia:

– It was a wonderful evening: we were singing, joking and taking memorable photos together... Marcello was a very warm and kind person!
Everyone was astonished by Rezo and Medea’s beageotv.geutiful family and that evening at their house was truly unique. The onored guest was very excited by Georgian girls performing a song in Italian for him. Then Marcello asked us to introduce him to Sergei Parajanov, an Armenian film director and artist from the Soviet Union.
Precisely for the occasion, the government has provided us with a huge experimental car that looked like a mix of Volga and 24. The car turned out too large for the narrow street where Parajanov lived, so we had to get out and walk to Sergei’s house on foot. On our way we met a local woman, who was carrying a bucket filled with water. When she saw us, she cried “Marcello has come to us, Marcello has arrived!”
Our meeting with Parajanov was unfor­gettable. Sergei Parajanov gifted Mastroianni with a pair of shoes. Marcello took them and wrote “Marcello” on one shoe and “Mastroianni” on the other. Then he gave the shoes back to Sergei and told him to walk on his hands in the street so that everyone could see his autograph on the soles.
When we exited his house, we were met by a huge crowd of people with flowers in their hands. Tears filled Marcello’s eyes and as the interpreter told us, Mastroianni was muttering to himself that he had never been received with such love in Italy. Then we organized a meeting with the representatives of Georgian cinema for him at the Cinema House. Unfortunately, he was due to leave the next day.

“I thought the script was too weak, so I refused to shoot the film. Marcello was not offended at all...”

– As it is known your movies fascinated Marcello Mastroianni…

– Right, he liked my movies a lot. I was given a script and offered to shoot a film based on it. Marcello was supposed to star in that movie, but speaking, when I read the script, I did not like it. I thought it was too weak, so I refused to shoot the film.

– Wasn’t Marcello hurt by this?

– No, he was not offended at all; he took my refusal quite calmly.

– You have many other interesting stories of meeting legendary people, Robert De Niro being one of them. Could you tell us about your meeting a bit?

– Robert De Niro has visited Georgia as well. To be honest, he did not stand out with positivity and warmth; I recall him being a rather severe person. He held a master-class for the movie and theater actors... I really wanted to show him Svaneti, but unfortunately, I failed to do so due to bad weather. However, we managed to show him the Gelati and Bagrati Monasteries in Kutaisi, Western Georgia, and laid an incredible supra (feast) for him. This, he enjoyed greatly and had a wonderful time in general.
It was widely known in Moscow at that time that we Georgians were distinct for our hospitality and ability to welcome guests. That’s why most of the special guests were sent to Georgia, because we hosted them perfectly, indeed!

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