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 Inna Churikova

Born:   05 October 1943

Russian actress


There is no need to prove that Inna Churikova is a great actress: somewhat eccentric, frankly ungainly and queerly fearless. What other actress, besides her and the legendary Faina Ranevskaya, could be so aweless about looking ugly or funny on screen, as she was? Though endowed with a bright comic gift, she became a genius tragic actress.

Inna Mikhailovna Churikova was born on October 5, 1943, in Belebey, near Ufa. In the early 1950s her mother and she moved to Moscow. When a schoolgirl yet, Inna was bent on her future profession: she studied at the drama studio attached to the Stanislavsky Theatre.

After finishing school she attempted to enter Shchukin Drama School, but failed, probably, because of her specific appearance. Luckily, the examiners in Shchepkin Drama School took pity on her after she said she wanted to become a great actress and all of a sudden burst into tears.

Her creative fervor and thirst for acting brought her to filming already in her first year of studies in the Shchepkin Drama School. She debuted in an episode in Tuchi nad Borskom (Clouds Over Borsk) (1960), an antireligious feature film denouncing sectarians. Later she made her mark in a bright episode, portraying her character with rich and broad strokes in the comedy Ya shagayu po Moskve (Walking the Streets of Moscow) (1963).

After graduating from the Shchepkin Drama School in 1965, Inna Churikova could not find a better stage job than playing Baba Yaga in the Moscow Theatre for Young Spectators. At the same time, her film roles were a bit more varied, including the mean ugly girl named Marfusha in the famous fairy tale movie Morozko (Father Frost) (1964), an undistinguished episode in Stryapukha (The Cook) (1965), a serious supporting role in Starshaya sestra (Elder Sister) (1966), and others.

The year 1968 finally saw a turning point in her creative life, bringing her up to the category of unique actresses: a graduate of the Higher Directors’ Courses and her future husband Gleb Panfilov invited Inna Churikova to star in his debut film, the war drama V ogne broda net (No Path Through Fire) (1967). The film can be considered the true professional debut of the actress. High tragedy and humour are interwoven in her playing, revealing the innermost feelings and impulses of her character, her lyricism, tenderness and enormous talent.

After the first big success Inna Churikova left the stage to work in cinema only, and only with Gleb Panfilov. Their next film under the title Nachalo (The Debut) (1970) was a triumph again. The witty and profoundly lyrical film, starring Churikova as a beginning actress and Joan of Arc at the same time, showed the lives of the two heroines of the present and the past intersecting. Both the director and the actress saw The Debut as a preparatory stage for the epic film about the heroic Joan of Arc, and wanted to start producing it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it did not work out: the permit for filming was postponed again and again for many years until the cinema authorities decided to reject this project at all.

In 1973 the well-known director Mark Zakharov (LENKOM Theatre) invited Inna Churikova to play in a stage production making her return to the theatre.

Her theatre roles include those of Arkadina in Anton Chekhov’s Seagull, a commissar in Optimistic Tragedy by V. Vishnevsky, Irina in Three Girls in Blue by L. Petrushevskaya, Mamayev in Wiseman after A. Ostrovsky, Philumen Marturano in City of Millionaires by Eduardo de Filippo, Grandma in Barbara and a Heretic after Dostoyevsky’s Gambler, etc. In the two productions of Hamlet, staged in LENKOM Theatre (the first one directed by A. Tarkovsky and the second one by Gleb Panfilov) Inna Churikova played Ophelia and Gertrude.

Along with working in the theatre the actress was engaged in films of various directors. The most remarkable of them are: Tot samyy Myunkhgauzen (That Munchhausen) (1979) written by Grigory Gorin and directed by Mark Zakharov, Voenno-polevoy roman (War-Time Romance) (1983) by Pyotr Todorovsky, Rebro Adama (Adam's Rib) (1990) by Vyacheslav Krishtofovich, God sobaki (The Year of a Dog) (1993) by Semyon Aranovich, Plashch Kazanovy (Casanova's Raincoat) (1993) by Aleksandr Galin, and Kurochka Ryaba (Ryaba My Chicken) (1994) by Andrei Konchalovsky.

Recently Inna Churikova has extensively and, as usual, successfully, played in a number of non-repertory productions. For over 10 years already the stage play Sorry by Gleb Panfilov has enjoyed popularity among theatre lovers, as well as Ovechka (Lamb), gathering full houses in Russia and the neighbouring countries.

The actress jointly with her husband and son has co-written the script for the historical feature Romanovy: Ventsenosnaya semya (The Romanovs: An Imperial Family) (2000), where for the first time she does not appear on screen, but dubs the English actress Linda Bellingham starring as the tsarina Aleksandra Fyodorovna.

“In spite of the fact that horrors prevail on television, I still believe in man. Nobody can make me change my mind. It is essential for man to unfold, because one has much Divine inside. This is what I do believe in. May be this is the most important thing?” – the great actress says.


Tags: Russian theatres Russian culture Russian cinema Russian actresses Inna Churikova 

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