Marcello Mastroianni has been in Georgia for three days when news came from Los Angeles that his nomination for an Oscar failed. (Mastroianni had been nominated for the best male role in the film “Dark Eyes” by director Nikita Mikhalkov).
The same night, Mastroianni visited Sergei Paradzhanov. That night was unforgettable for everyone. A lot of guests gathered… The old walls of Paradzhanov’s dilapidated house were ready to collapse from our laughter.
To prevent this, Sergei led the guests to the night street to acquaint his neighbors with the living Marcello Mastroianni. Enthusiastic shouts of awakened neighbors raised the entire Sololaki quarter!
People with bottles of wine, cheese, and greens began to flock to the narrow street. We set a long table and started the feast. Predawn moon was in the sky.
Marcello listened to improvised Georgian chants, drank wine, and was truly happy. He shouted: “To hell with the Oscars! I demand political asylum! I remain to live in Tbilisi!”
On another occasion, Paradzhanov and Mastroianni were alone in the house, drinking Kakhetian chacha, eating Armenian lavash, cheese, apples, and talking, understanding each other perfectly. And then, late at night, in high spirits, they went to visit Paradzhanov’s sister Anna to drink coffee.
On the way, Paradzhanov stopped near a neighbor’s house where one fan of Mastroianni lived and whose walls instead of wallpaper were covered with portraits of the Italian actor. Sergey told Marcello that a woman lives here who raves about “Marriage Italian Style” and “Divorce Italian Style” and asked him to knock on her window.
The actor easily fulfilled the request and stepped aside. It was the third hour of the night. Soon, the window opened, from where a straw widow with hair curlers stuck her head out. In a drunken voice, Paradzhanov addressed the woman: “I promised you that I would bring Marcello Mastroianni to you for the night. Here, take him!”
“You need to drink less!” answered the fan of Italian cinema.
“Indeed, indeed that’s him!” tried to convince her Paradzhanov.
The widow had heard about the eccentricities of the neighbor, but she did not expect it – under the acacia, wrapped in a raincoat, not understanding anything, shifting from foot to foot was the real Marcello Mastroianni. That night, she would not be able to fall asleep for a long time, and in the morning, she would stand at the window and look at the acacia where the idol of her youth was seen next to her scamp neighbor…