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Paris report by Darius KADIVAR


Charles Aznavour and Georges Garvarentz's Music Score

of Motion Picture Tehran '43


© & photocomposition DK


In the late 70's the Soviet Film Industry was desperately trying to open it's frontiers to foreign investments and artists. The native country of Sergueï Eisenstein (one of the most prolific director's of the Soviet Union, who not only made such great masterpieces as Battle Ship Potemkin, Ivan the Terrible or Alexander Nevski but also set the basic concepts of movie making along with America's D.W. Griffith (Birth of a Nation, Intolerance ) that have lasted the test of time and used to this day) had for decades seen a decline in the artistic qualities of its films during the Stalin years of political purge and dictatorship. The Soviet led War in Afghanistan was lingering on endlessly to the surprise of the Soviet leadership and political rivalries inside the Soviet political and cultural bureaucracy was announcing the beginning of the Perestroika mouvement that was to bring in a new generation of political figures such as Michael Gorbatchev and Boris Yeltsin. French Star's and movie's were always very popular in the Eastern Bloc and cultural exchanges never stopped despite the Russian Revolution and changes in the Soviet Leadership over the past century. If censorship would indeed get into the way for political films like Costa Gavras' The Confession or Z with Yves Montand most European films were tolerated by Russian authorities. In this context a first major step was taken by 1978 to co-produce films with European partners like West Germany and France. Tegeran '43 aka Tehran '43 was a Soviet film co-produced with the two West European countries that benefited from a particularly important budget. It was critically well received for its humanistic message albeit a politically correct and an unprecedented politically neutral film that looked back on one of the Major Conferences of the Second World War that of: Tehran in December 1943 that was to seal the fate of Nazi Germany and prepare D-DAY in Normandy.  Alain Delon who stars as a French inspector in the movie intrigued by a series of political assassinations in Europe was always interested in shooting in the Middle East and in Iran in particular. He had missed two great film opportunities in his career. The first was to play the part of T.E. Lawrence in David Lean's 1962 Oscar winning masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia that had propelled two actors to international stardom: Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif. After screen tests with Lean and accepting to tan his hair blond, he was to receive a denial from Lean who preferred the naturally blond Irishman O'Toole. Delon's frustration was short-lived for he was soon to be contacted by Italian Maestro Luchino Visconti to play opposite Burt Lancaster and Claudia Cardinale in what was also to be a milestone in film history: Il Gattopardo aka The Leopard which won the Palme D'Or at Cannes in 1963 and earned Delon a Golden Globe nomination. In the early 70's Delon was once again to work with an Italian director Valerio Zurlini in The Professor. Zurlini was to think of Delon again for what was to become the director's last film Il Deserto dei Tartari aka The Tartar's Desert ( See my article Major Attraction) that was to be shot in Iran at the desert castle of Bam. The film was first to be made by Robert Enrico a French director who had also worked with Delon in a successful adventure film called Les Aventuriers. Finally due to different agenda's and deadlines, Zurlini chose to shoot his film with Jacques Perrin who was also executive producer on this film. Having missed two film opportunities that also happened to be two major critical landmarks in film history, Delon was adamant not to lose another opportunity in what was another great opportunity to work on an ambitious European film project. Russian director's Aleksandr Alov's Téhéran '43  seemed to have all the ingredients of such a potential production. Initially the film was also to be shot in Iran as for Zurlini's film but production was interrupted due to the Islamic Revolution and finally shot in the USSR, and France.


This subject was therefore a pretext for an action packed historical thriller as well as a  love story film. In addition to Delon It cast such International Star's as German actor Curd Jurgens, French Star Claude Jade as well as Russian Stars of the moment such as Igor Kostolevsky and Natalya Belokhvostikova to name a few. However, it was the music score of this film that was to become a hit in the music charts in France and the former Soviet Union. Composed by George Garvarentz with lyrics by Charles Aznavour (*) "Une Vie d'Amour" (**) aka "A life of Love" was to become and Ode for Love and Peace between East and West which ironically also announced the advent of the Cultural glasnost that preceded the political one that was to bring down the Iron Curtain in the years to come ...



poster Teheran '43©mosfilms


The beautiful music score of this film is now available on CD at both in Russian and French ( See details in author's notes). 


Here are the lyrics: 


Une vie d'amour


Lyrics by : Charles Aznavour / Music score : Georges Garvarentz

Une vie d'amour
Que l'on s'était jurée
Et que le temps a désarticulée
Jour apres jour
Blesse mes pensées
Tant des mots d'amour
En nos cœurs étouffés
Dans un sanglot l'espace d'un baiser
Sont restés sourds
À tout, mais n'ont rien changé
Car un au revoir
Ne peut être un adieu
Et fou d'espoir
Je m'en remets à Dieu
Pour te revoir
Et te parler encore
Et te jurer encore
Une vie d'amour
Remplie de rires clairs
Un seul chemin
Déchirant nos enfers
Allant plus loin
Que la nuit
La nuit des nuits
Une vie d'amour
Que l'on s'était jurée
Et que le temps a désarticulée
Jour apres jour
Blesse mes pensées
Tant des mots d'amour
Que nos cœurs ont criés
De mots tremblés, de larmes soulignées
Dernier recours
De joies dés-harmonisées
Des aubes en fleurs
Aux crépuscules gris
Tout va, tout meurt
Mais la flamme survit
Dans la chaleur
D'un immortel été
D'un éternel été
Une vie d'amour
Une vie pour s'aimer
Jusqu'au souffle dernier
Bon an mal an
Mon amour
T'aimer encore
Et toujours

Delon greeted in Tehran by Iranian Star Behrouz Vossoughi early 1970's



Author's notes :


(*) First generation French Armenian Charles Aznavour was to make a huge International career by the mid 60's he was to become the symbol of French Charm in the US. See 1966 New Year's Eve Show on the Crosby Show with: Dorothy Collins, Bing Crosby, The Mills Brother, Skitch Henderson.



(**) Music score available in French and Russian on CD


Recommended Watching & Listening:


Duet Charles Aznavour and Mireille Mathieu sing Une Vie D'Amour (youtube) 

Les Enfants de La Guerre aka Children of War sung by Charles Aznavour (youtube)

Alain Delon's films dubbed in Persian before the Revolution (youtube)



Recommended Readings:


Film review of Franco-Soviet Film " Tegeran '43 " aka " Tehran 43 " by Darius KADIVAR 

A review and Production photos of "The Tartar's Desert" by Darius KADIVAR

Sultan of my heart: Monika Jalili and Noorsaaz's remembrance of things past... by Darius KADIVAR 

An Axis of Joy:Monika Jalili & Noorsaaz Band Triumph in Paris  by Darius KADIVAR

Iranian Pioneers Of The French New Wave Cinema by Darius KADIVAR   

Enduring Friendship : Alain Delon and Farah Pahlavi by Darius KADIVAR

MAGIC IN THE MAKING : Marjane Satrapi's cinephilic choice of Persepolis Cast by Darius KADIVAR




About the Author:
Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant.


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