Cult Film Director Passes Away

Cult Film Director Passes Away


Sergei Solovyov, a Russian film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and the People's Artist of Russia title, passed away on December 13, after a long illness at the age of 78. He was awarded the Lenin Komsomol Prize and the State Prize in the 1970s.

The telegram by the Ministry of Culture addressed to the Union of Filmmakers, says that the director's death is “a great loss to the entire country.”

Sergei Solovyov was born on August 25, 1944, in a military family in Kem, which was a part of the Karelian-Finnish SSR at that time. The Second World War was coming to an end. Sergei Solovyov's father was sent to North Korea as an adviser to Kim Il-sung. When Sergei was 6 years old, the family returned home and settled in Leningrad.

At the age of 14, when Sergei was taking a stroll along Nevsky Prospect, he was spotted by the novice director Igor Vladimirov. He liked young Solovyov so much that he immediately offered him a role in the play ‘The Unseen Places.’ So, as a teenager, Solovyov got on stage at the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre after a chance meeting, although it is believed that nothing is accidental in our life. That is how the theatrical career of the future director and People's Artist of Russia started. Most likely, it was this meeting that served as a turning point in the choice of profession.

Sergei Solovyov enjoyed being on the stage so much that as a senior student he came to classes at the Theater of Youth Creativity which was at the Leningrad House of Pioneers in those years. He studied there together with his classmate Lev Dodin who also linked his life to art in the future, becoming a famous theater director.

Solovyov's film debut was two novellas ‘The Proposal’ and ‘Family Happiness’ that were filmed in 1970 based on stories by Anton Chekhov. The next year's feature film ‘Yegor Bulychev and Others’ was released.

Numerous viewers heard about Sergei Solovyov after the wide release of the Assa film. There is a version that the name of this film deciphered as “Author Solovyov Sergei Alexandrovich.” This is a trilogy that also includes the films

“Black Rose Is an Emblem of Sorrow, Red Rose Is an Emblem of Love” and “House under the Starry Sky”, created in 1987-1991. These films show the atmosphere of the last years of the Soviet Union. Assa became a cult movie for Soviet rock music as the songs of such bands as Kino, Aquarium, and Bravo were used there. The singer Viktor Tsoi starred in the film, played himself. According to Robert Tsoi, Victor's father, as reports, Solovyov was the most honest and decent person in the world who “recognized the talent and genius” of his son.

Many colleagues and artists who worked with Sergei Solovyov called him a youth director and a unique person who was well versed not only in film, but also interested in music, literature, and painting. Actress Lyudmila Savelyeva, who starred in Solovyov's films, calls him a “versatile person,” capable of inventing and changing things even during filming. Despite his fame, Sergei Solovyov respected young artists and colleagues always listened to their opinion and often changed some points in the already written script.

According to Alexei German Jr., Solovyov was able to create such films “that became a reflection of time.” It was Sergei Solovyov who managed to quite accurately reflect “perestroika as an era,” to show those confusing years and confused people. His colleagues say that inexhaustible energy, a lot of ideas, and ideas that he tried as fully and truthfully implement in his works distinguished him from other filmmakers. He managed it well, maybe also because he listened to the opinion of others, especially novice artists, who felt better and subtler than others the changes that were taking place in our society in the 1990s.

That was a very important and difficult time when the old way of life was breaking down, and a new, different, and unfamiliar thing was beginning to emerge. The birth of the new, as usual, is accompanied by pain, anguish, and suffering. These changes were most acutely perceived by the younger generation. There were a lot of mistakes, excesses, there were failures, but there were also victories. It was during this crucial period in our history that Sergei Solovyov worked, and his films revealed the hopes and concerns, above all, of young people. After all, as you know, it is up to the younger generation to continue and make history. What will be the youth, so will be living in the country.

Solovyov initiated holding an international festival of cinematographic debuts called “Spirit of Fire” in Khanty-Mansiysk to popularize exactly the novice cinematographers and not only from Russia. 19 festivals were carried out from 2002 till 2021, and he was its permanent President for all these years. Solovyov had an absolute gift for finding and discovering young talent. Perhaps in this way, he paid tribute to the fact that he too was brought to the stage very young and opened the door to the world of art.

Actor Konstantin Kryukov said in an interview with ‘Vechernyaya Moskva’ that the death of Sergei Solovyov is an unforgivable, great loss for Russian cinema.

As a producer in the 1990s, Solovyov staged performances at the theater and was chairman of the Union of Russian Filmmakers. He was a member of the Venice Film Festival jury twice, in 1981 and 1987. In 2007 he made a screen version of Leo Tolstoy's novel Anna Karenina.

Solovyov was a professor at the directing department of Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography where he graduated in his time. He passed on his wealth of experience to young people.

One of the most outstanding directors of Soviet and Russian cinema passed away. The date and place of the funeral of Sergei Solovyov will be announced later.

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