Alain Terzian: “I visit Armenia for brain therapy.” “People are people, but some people are legends – for example, Alain Terzian, who told the whole world that Jean Reno may be an Armenian Mafiosi and that you can come to Armenia to ‘for brain therapy’,” told columnist Ruben Gyulmisaryan about one man who has spoken Armenian with Yves Montand.
Alain Terzian’s parents ended up in France after literally escaping from Western Armenia at the very beginning of the 1920s. Terzian was born on May 2, 1949, in Paris. By then, his father had owned a good textile business that ensured no prerequisites for Alain’s cinematic career, even in spite of living in the Latin Quarter among Parisian bohemians.
In the Latin Quarter, artists were sparse – Terzian only had opportunities for drawing classes in his spare time when he wasn’t helping his father with his business.
Whether it has been because his parents had divorced or for some other reason, Alain would become successful neither in business nor in painting. That is, business would happen, but of a different sense. Now, there are countless films starting with “Alain Terzian presents.”
“I am more French than any Frenchman and as much an Armenian as any Armenian,” Terzian said, appreciating the unique opportunities that have opened before him as a bearer of such a broad self-identification.
A decisive role in Terzian’s life was played by his meeting with French director Ashot Malakian, better known as Henri Verneuil. The eminent director invited Alain to his studio to work. In the very first days of his work, Terzian met none other than Jean Gabin and Alain Delon – let’s admit it, it would be an absurdity and a fatal mistake not to connect your life with cinema after such a meeting.
Terzian entered the world of cinema, but in a somewhat intricate way – through the Sorbonne’s economic branch. He wrote a notable scientific work on the French cinema system – through an economic prism, of course.
But economics is an exact science, and Terzian, apparently, wanted a more creative lesson. He went for film producing where the knowledge obtained at the Sorbonne was not at all superfluous.
Now, Alain Terzian is an administrator of the Cannes Film Festival jury, the President of the Union of French Producers, and the President of Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma. The list of films that he has produced and in which he has played includes several dozen titles.
Once, Terzian was greatly surprised by the famous Yves Montand. Montand asked him to attend the shooting of the film “Left Bank – Right Bank”, and they went to the set together. Quite unexpectedly, Montand spoke with Terzian in very good Armenian – it turned out that Montand’s childhood and adolescence had been spent among Marseille Armenians.
In addition to meeting Verneuil, it turned out to be useful for Terzian to communicate with a legend of French film production Alexandre Mnouchkine. Mnouchkine has worked on such films as Fanfan la Tulipe, Le Magnifique, Professional, and many others. Terzian, as he himself would admit, was not sure that he would succeed as a director, so he tried to become a producer.
He was successful – Les Visiteurs, Les Anges Gardiens, and Fanfan are only three names from more than a hundred films which the bearer of the order of the Legion of Honour had a hand in. And in 2009, Terzian introduced the Armenian theme into French cinematography, though for some reason, he told the story of an Armenian Mafioso clan. This picture is called Le Premier Cercle, and the main Mafiosi Armenians were played by Gaspard Ulliel and Jean Reno.
The producer himself, however, does not believe that his historical homeland is famous for just the mafia. In one interview, he said that he felt at home in Armenia, and he especially liked local women. Terzian happens to visit Yerevan quite often, albeit not every year.
Terzian also really likes the Armenian people with their huge potential and inner strength. In France, Terzian says, everything is different – people are always dissatisfied with something, everyone is whining – they don’t like the food, or their shoes are uncomfortable… But Armenia, the producer thinks, has power, has faith in its destiny, and believes that it deserves a better fate.
The maestro comes to Armenia to relax, gain optimism, have “brain therapy”, and come back, inspired and full of new ideas.