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 Marlen Khutsiev

Born:   December, 4th, 1925

Film Director


Marlen Khutsiev was born on December, 4th, 1925 in Tbilisi. His father - Khutsiev Martyn Levanovich (1900-1937), a communist with pre-revolutionary experience – perished in the years of reprisals. His mother Utenelishvili Nina Mihaylovna (1905-1957) was an actress. Marlen graduated the Director's Faculty of VGIK, where he studied under I.A.Savchenko.

Marlen Khutsiev was a key figure in cinema of the 1960s. This graceful person with a quiet, subdued voice looks quite different from the well-known film directors who are often compared to military commanders. All those who described this master, marked his highly contemplative disposition. It was far from being a cliché, just really the very first characteristic impression of meeting him.

At the very beginning of his professional way, when studying in VGIK, he attracted attention of surrounding people thanks to his special concentration, and many people assumed he would be engaged in scientific research of life, and make an artist-scientist, but he turned to be a person of very subtle emotional nature. It became clear from his degree work, the film Town Planners (Gradostroiteli) (1950). His first movie already revealed the enormous capabilities of his talent. The following film Spring on Zarechnaya Street co-directed with his groupmate Felix Mironer at once put Marlen Khutsiev among the most talented masters of domestic cinema. The film was marked with unique poetic intonation and a subtle manner of empathy to the characters. Spring on Zarechnaya Street (Vesna na Zarechnoy ulitse) (1956) was the first movie about workers made without false pathos and moralizing. Not without reason viewers still like this gentle lyrical film. It was followed by The Two Fedors (Dva Fyodora) (1959) - one of the first truthful pictures about post-war life, and a debut role of Vasily Shukshin. Khutsiev’s next work I am Twenty (Mne dvadtsat let, aka Zastava Il’ycha) became the symbol of the “Stalin thaw” epoch. For the first time this work brought up the vital question of youth: "how to live?".

July Rain (Iyulskiy dozhd) (1966) came as a novel discovery based on modern material. In the course of time this picture is not growing older, but getting more modern, so much it guessed and predicted about today's life. This soft and slow-moving picture puts a sharp and impartial question before the society: “What is the matter with us?” So spectators look for the answer and even find it at times.

The black-and-white drama It was in May (Byl mesyats may) (1970) demonstrated that not all questions set by war were solved, not all bonds were untied. It is a film about Memory and Oblivion, and the collision of these two concepts brings about the theme, which our cinema tangled for the first time. We have forgotten nothing and we will not forget, no matter how fancifully life may change.

Epilogue (Poslesloviye) (1983) is one of the most prophetical and bitter films. With unostentatious power it revealed the alienation theme; as if predicting the future, it showed a new type of the young pragmatist. Rostislav Plyatt played one of his best roles in this film.

It is possible to speak about the film Infinitas (Beskonechnost) (1992) for quite a long time; it was repeatedly assorted, explained, interpreted and analyzed. The film can be called an original film direction manual, which Marlen Khutsiev still has not got time to write. This long and complicated film generates the image of Hope that is so necessary to us nowadays. In the bewitching end the unhurried and wise master shares with us his philosophical view on the quickly running life.

For more than 20 years Marlen Khutsiev has been teaching in VGIK; among his students there are lots of talented people.

Tags: Russian cinema Russian film directors Marlen Khutsiev   

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