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 Yevgeni Karelov

Born:   12 October 1931
Deceased:   11 July 1977

Film director and scriptwriter.


Yevgeni Yefimovich Karelov was born in the Bogorodskoe Settlement of the Moskow Region.

«I was six years old when parents for the first time took me to the cinema. The lights went off, and silence set in. It was dark and silent. That is what cinema means - to sit here in darkness, looking forward and waiting for something. I was happy. I comprehended some sacrament... And even now cinema for me is expectation of something unusual, enigmatically enchanting... » Yevgeni Karelov said.

Yevgeni Karelov graduated from the directors’ faculty of VGIK in 1955. Starting from 1961 he worked as the film director at the Mosfilm Studio and wrote scripts for the popular satiric newsreel Fitil’. “Fitil’ is an outlet, he said. It is my attitude to the things that spoil our life hourly, daily …”

Just one talented film, which was popular for decades, can become justification of somebody’s life, dedicated to cinema. The film director Yevgeni Karelov created such a film — Two Comrades Were Serving (1968). And apart from it, another dozen of gifted films. Among them there are observant, keen, and light comedies, such as Don Quixote's Children (1965), Seven Old Men and a Girl (1968). Nearby stand his heroic films addressed to children and the youth: Smoke in the Wood (1955) after Arkady Gaidar, and Nakhalenok (1961) after M.Sholokhov (won prize in Monte-Carlo). The heroic drama is based on a real story - a football match between Soviet military prisoners and experts of the fascist Air Forces - The Third Half (1962). His TV series Two Captains after Kaverin’s novel enjoyed great popularity in the late 1970s.

The film director loved actors and had an insight for them. Yevgeni Matveev played the talented military leader and his entire life, throughout three wars in the film-dilogy High Rank. The script-novel was written by Y.Dunsky and V.Frid.

It was in cooperation with them that Karelov created the major film of his life, which blended two leading trends in his creativity – the heroic comedy Two Comrades Were Serving - where splendid Rolan Bykov and Oleg Yankovsky played ones of their best roles. Outstanding actresses and actors Alla Demidova, Iya Savina, Vladimir Vysotsky, and Nikolai Burlyaev made brilliant appearance in some episodic roles.

The counter duet of the vigilant proletarian, «black bone» and the intelligent photographer «from the former nobles» (Bykov - Yankovsky) became the core of the film, its philosophical and drama center, which did not get dissolved in comedic and heroic elements. The story of two comrades implied the suicidal character of revolution and the tragedy of people. The seamy side of the story is visible to us today, but was it so evident to the film director 30 years back?

Unfortunately, we cannot ask him now. The gifted film director Yevgeni Yefimovich Karelov died early, aged 45, of cardiac rupture.

Tags: Russian cinema Russian directors    

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