Thursday, 11 June 2009
Actor-director Sergei Bondarchuk (R) during the filming of "War & Peace."
Outstanding film director and brilliant actor Sergei Bondarchuk (1920 – 1994) underwent breath-taking, almost improbable rises in his life as well as dizzy failures and disappointments in the end.
Sergei Bondarchuk was born in 1920 in a Ukrainian settlement. At the age of 17 he first appeared on stage. Bondarchuk was already studying at a drama school in Rostov when the war broke out. Then there was battle-front life – in Grozny, Armavir, and Mozdok.
In 1948 he played his first role in “The The Young Guard” (aka Molodaya Gvardia) film, which became his diploma work.
In 1952 Stalin praised actor Bondarchuk for his role in ‘Taras Shevchenko’, and the day after it the actor was conferred on the title of the People’s Artist of the USSR (the highest title people normally got after dozens of years of creative work). In spite of the fact, Bondarchuk would always expand or even sweep away the limitations the communist leaders put for the Soviet cinema.
It is worth mentioning that Bondarchuk’s acting in ‘Taras Shevchenko’ got international acclaim as well – he was awarded at the festival in Karlovy Vary. His debut as a film director was not less successful: the movie ‘Fate of a Man’ (aka Sudba cheloveka (1959)) about a Russian soldier going through the Second World War brought him the Grand-Prix of the Moscow International Film Festival. More...