Vladimir Naumov, People's Artist of the USSR, USSR State Prize winner, Soviet and Russian film director, actor, screenwriter and teacher passed away on the eve of his 94th birthday. An entire era in the history of Soviet and Russian cinema went with him. Naumov was admired by his colleagues and his films were loved by millions of viewers.
He was an incredibly talented person who inspired everyone on the filming ground with his amazing temperament and inexhaustible energy. A new idea could prompt him to redo a rehearsed and fully ready scene. “On the one hand, it is very interesting, but on the other, it is difficult because you never know what he will offer next,” said People's Artist of Russia Alexander Pankratov-Cherniy quoted by the newspaper Izvestia.
Vladimir Naumov had indeed a lot to offer, which is probably why his films had a wide audience. They were deeply truthful and showed what worried and interested millions of people.
He became friends with film director Alexander Alov during the shooting of “Taras Shevchenko” at a Kyiv’s studio. They made 11 films together, including Tehran-43, Flight, and Legend About Thiel. Tehran-43 became one of the first political thrillers released in the USSR where such European stars as Claude Jean, Curd Jürgens, and Alain Delon appeared with Soviet actors.
Speaking about Vladimir Naumov, People's Artist of the Russian Federation Nikolai Burlyaev called him “the gem of national cinematography.” Cinema was art for him but not just a means of making money, which, unfortunately, often happens nowadays.
Vladimir Naumov’s colleagues recalled that his sense of humor had never left him while small and insignificant details made the movies by this true artist amazingly authentic.
As quoted by Izvestia, actor and screenwriter Alexander Adabashyan said that the actors’ performance was great, everything was thought out to the last detail and done very truthfully and with amazing humor in Restless Youth, which was released in 1955. A lot of such details had become a thing of the past by that time, as the film was about the first years of the establishment of the Soviet power in Ukraine.
Vladimir Naumov was born in Leningrad on December 6, 1927, but his artistic journey was associated with Moscow. He lived in the world of art and cinema since a young age; his mother Agnia Burmistrova was an actress and his father Naum Naumov-Strazh was a cameraman. Perhaps it was these circumstances that made Vladimir Naumov choose a carrier in cinematography. Shortly after the Second World War, he enrolled at the directing department of Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) and graduated from it in 1952. Vladimir Naumov was a student of the same course as Sergei Paradzhanov who would become a famous film director in the future. They were both excellent artists. As his colleagues recall, Naumov always made sketches and drawings even at the artistic expert board meetings. He just could not sit idly. He had incredible energy, and it seemed that it would be enough for more than one life.
Ivan Pyrev, Vladimir Naumov, and Alexander Alov started working at Mosfilm at the invitation of a famous Soviet film director in 1954. It was the start of their fruitful collaboration. Three years later their film The World won several awards at international film festivals. Naumov became head of the Mosfilm Studio Creative Association in 1963. In 1975, when the 10th international film festival was held in Moscow, Vladimir Naumov was a member of the jury. A talented director, he also starred in such films as The Third Blow, Shine, Shine, My Star, and Theft. He co-wrote the script for the TV series How the Steel Was Tempered.
Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to Naumov’s wife, actress Natalia Belokhvostikova, who starred in many films by Naumov. In the telegram published on the Kremlin website, the Russian president called him “a true master of national cinematography” whose films touched on themes that resonated in the hearts of people of different generations.
Vladimir Naumov is gone but has he left his films and wonderful masterpieces that the Russians will remember, returning to them again and again, because his works reflect the truth and essence of life.
Vladimir Naumov was buried in Moscow’s Vagankovskoye cemetery on December 2. The funeral ceremony was held in a circle of his family and friends.