Soviet Georgian actress Sofiko Chiaureli
Soviet Georgian actress Sofiko Chiaureli was born May 21, 1937 in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR of the USSR. Her mother was actress Veriko Andzhaparidze and her father – founder of Georgian Musical Comedy Theatre named after Vaso Abashidze, a theater director, artist and filmmaker Michael Chiaureli. Sofiko had two brothers. One of them, Otar Chiaureli, later graduated from the Tbilisi Academy of Arts and became a documentary filmmaker. The second brother of Sofiko, Ramaz Chiaureli, graduated from the Directing Department of State institute of Theatrical Art in Moscow. He directed performances “Far from Moscow” and “Twelfth Night”, and was also engaged in the documentary. Both brothers of Sophiko mysteriously gone from life when they turned 49 years old.
The house in which Sofiko lived, was built by her father, director Michael Chiaureli, in memory of the first kiss with her mother – beautiful and talented actress Veriko Andzhaparidze. When Sofiko was born, her parents couldn’t give her a name for the whole month, because her birthday May 21 – a day of St Elena. And her mother wanted to call her Elena, but her father – Sofia. Finally, when she turned a month, her father wrote these two names on pieces of paper and threw them into the cap. He lifted his little daughter and with her little hand she took out a note with the name Sofia.
Life of Sofiko from childhood was spent in an artistic atmosphere, and she was a very naughty child, and did not understand what talented people are in fact her parents, and what people surround them – Nemirovich-Danchenko, Olga Knipper, Vasily Kachalov, Mikhoels, Okhlopkov, Marjanishvili. Movies directed by her father, Mikhail Chiaureli were loved by Stalin. Stalin invited him to the feast, because her dad was a consummate master of ceremonies. Her father adored Stalin and believed him unconditionally. He dedicated to him three films – “The Fall of Berlin”, “Unforgettable 1919” and “The Oath”. When Khrushchev came to power, he didn’t like the fact that Stalin treated him well, he was sent to Sverdlovsk. When he was able to return to Georgia, he was not allowed to film.
Sofiko’s Mom – Veriko was the brightest star of the new Georgian Theatre, founded in the 1920s. Parents of Sofiko Chiaureli organically embodied the continuity of the XIX and XX centuries, and by chance Sophiko Chiaureli, like her mother, became one of the brightest stars of Soviet cinema.
In 1955 Sofiko graduated from the Tbilisi women’s high school, and entered the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, where she studied in the studio of Boris Bibikov and Olga Pyzhova. On the same course with Sofiko studied other prominent Soviet actors and directors – Svetlana Druzhinina and Leonid Kuravlev. While studying in the institute, Sofiko married director George Shengelaja, future filmmaker. While still students, together they played a major role in the film by Rezo Chkheidze “Our yard”. And after high school everything was fine: they had two sons, he made good movies, she played in the theater, starred in the movie.
As a student Sofiko starred in three films “Our Yard”, “Watercolor”, “Story of a girl”. Chiaureli debut in the film by Rezo Chkheidze “Our Yard”, coincided with the screening of the film at the International Festival of Youth and Students in Moscow in 1957. The film received international acclaim and was a milestone in the history of Georgian cinema.
Later Sofiko Chiaureli played more than a hundred roles in theater and cinema. Hundred of women’s lives, one hundred stories, one hundred memorable images – funny and tragic, touching and sublime.
In 1969, Sofiko has played in the film “The Color of Pomegranates” by Sergei Parajanov, in which the director entrusted Sofiko Chiaureli six roles, among them the role of the poet’s youth, his lover, angel and queen. The same year Sofiko starred in the cult film “Do not Cry” by director Georgy Danelia with superb ensemble of Vakhtang Kikabidze, Sergo Zakariadze, Anastasia Vertinskaya, Frunzik Mkrtchyan, Yevgeny Leonov and Veriko Andzhaparidze.
Sofiko Chiaureli also played in other recognized classics of the Georgian cinema – Tengiz Abuladze in the film “The Wishing Tree” and “Repentance”, and George Shengelaja in the film “Melodies of Vera Quarter” and “Come to the valley of grapes.” Sergei Paradjanov said that with Chiaureli in his films “entered beauty itself” and called her “genius film ballerina”.
In 1960, despite numerous offers from Moscow theaters, Sofiko returned to Tbilisi, where she continued to work in two theaters. At the Georgian theater Sophiko Chiaureli played a huge number of diverse roles.
In 1983 a great success with the audience brought her participation in the detective comedy by Alla Surikova “Search for the woman”. The heroine of Sophiko Chiaureli became secretary of Maitre Roche. The actress played with ease, releasing dozens of aphorisms: “Long live the criminal police and I,” “I love you so much that waited till I am an old woman,” “With a good woman a man can be a man,” “He’s not too young to take care of, but not old enough to drag!”, “Between my 34 and 35 years old I have lived 10 wonderful years!”. Brilliant couple were Sophiko Chiaureli and Leonid Kuravlev, who played Inspector Grande.
Due to the large number of interesting roles in movies Sophiko Chiaureli traveled the world, visiting the many international film festivals. Sofiko Chiaureli became an honorary citizen of the city of Tbilisi, Poti, as well as an honorary citizen of Cyprus. In the years 1974-1979 was a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from Georgia.
In 2007, the actress was diagnosed with a cancer, and her surgery was made in Tbilisi. Later, she was treated in Paris, but the doctors were powerless. Sofiko was tormented by great pain, and March 2, 2008 the actress, without regaining consciousness, died in her home on the mountain-Pikris in Tbilisi.
One of the last interviews Sophiko Chiaureli finished with the words: “Guys, we need to stay! Only love can save. We need to stay close. Moscow, Russia – my second home, I studied here, graduated from the VGIK, I have a lot of friends and relatives. I can not imagine life without these actors that exist in Russia: Petrenko, Lavrov, Basilashvili … Surikova, Lenya Kuravlev, my classmate. It is necessary to hold on, and do not give in to provocations. I beg you, to love Russian and Russia. Russian and Georgian peoples, they have such deep roots of friendship and love, it is no one can break. Nobody. I believe in it. I believe that it is temporary and it will pass. And I want to say that I love Russia to the pain in the heart.
Sofiko Chiaureli was buried in Didube Pantheon of Tbilisi beside her husband Kote Makharadze. March 5, 2008 one of the streets of Tbilisi was named after Sofiko Chiaureli. In the same 2008 First Channel has prepared a wonderful documentary about Sofiko Chiaureli.
Soviet Georgian actress Sofiko Chiaureli