Friday, 25 March 2011

Marina Ladynina - Biography


Marina Ladynina debuted in Vrazhdiye tropy (1935), directed by veterans Ivan Pravov and Olga Preobrazhenskaya. For the rest of her career in cinema, however, she worked exclusively with film director Ivan Pyryev, who, along with Grigoriy Aleksandrov, was the leading author of Soviet musical comedies, one of the few well-developed popular genres within the system of Stalinist film culture. The making of musical comedies was encouraged by a decree which Boris Shumiatski, administrative head of Soviet cinema at the time, issued in 1935 and in which cinema was recommended to focus on making "movies for the millions." Ladynina's career directly reflects this directive—she was an actress with whom millions of viewers could identify.

Unlike Aleksandrov's leading lady, dazzling mega star Lyubov Orlova, Ladynina was a comedienne with a special talent for character parts. She was a short, fast-talking, funny, down-to-earth girl with intense blue eyes and a turned-up nose, and she usually appeared surrounded by an entourage of cheerful peasant girlfriends. While Orlova's natural milieu was the world of elaborate stage performances involving lavish interiors and glamorous outfits, Ladynina's world was inhabited by Stakhanovite shock workers, amateur wood carvers, and good-natured shepherds. Similarly, while Grigoriy Aleksandrov's films were considered a more refined entertainment value, Pyryev's films conveyed straightforward propaganda messages which make them look particularly implausible and contrived from today's point of view. As a rule, Pyryev's films featured working class protagonists—tractor drivers, farm workers—and were known for their hyperbolization of prosperity and the happiness of Soviet life at collective farms. Film historian Neya Zorkaya has noted that even though all these films were marketed as true to life, they completely neglected any realist criteria and promoted a myth of high achieving Kolkhoz mode, or production, at times when agriculture was undergoing a serious crisis.
Read more about Marina Ladynina here.

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