Xinaliq experience

Antoine JAG

A week after the new year of 2015, I flew from Istanbul to Baku, Azerbaijan, to work as an assistant art director for a feature length movie project. It was predicted to be a short period of time, most likely a couple of months and I needed to arrange everything in Istanbul as fast as I could. Yet I didn’t know what to expect; The image of post-Soviet era and the Turkish culture combined with Islam with a little touch of European look maybe? Zoroastarian temples and the fire that never extinguishes… The petrol and the huge gap -even walls were implemented- between rich and the poor. The posh cars riding fast on these muddy roads… I was impressed with this weird kind of atmosphere by the country that had been founded right after the collapse of Soviet Union, and was still struggling while showing a huge effort to be on the “scene”. So apparently, I was about to join one of the projects fulfilling these efforts. Besides working with a very successfully organized crew and a well-known director, I enjoyed my time observing the unique culture of living, windy climate, the colors of the topography wherever I went.

Antoine JAG

That was the point where I was assigned to travel to this remote village; Xınalıq, in Quba Rayon, Azerbaijan. The task was going and checking an existing stone house where a week later all the crew will transfer to shoot the exterior scenes. In the meantime we will be preparing a replica in the film plateau for the interior shots. With a short notice, I get prepared for the harsh conditions of winter and hit the road with one of our drivers. The road was long and the timing was important so we drove closest to our destination that day and stayed in an almost empty hotel in the mountains. These images and the reminiscence of the journey are hidden in the remoteness and the historical background of the village; the fascinating scenes on the road, the impressive valley within calmness and coldness, and a period of time that I felt I visited a dreamlike story.

Read Mountains of fire

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Mountains of fire