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 Tatyana Lioznova

Born:   20 July 1924
Deceased:   29 September 2011

Film Director


Films by Tatyana Lioznova, one of the few Russian female film directors, have an amazing feature – they never grow old. People of any generation can find something concordant to their lives in her films. Her lyrical drama ‘Three Poplars at Plyuschihka’ still enjoying love of the public justly brought her fame. This work alone would be enough for her to take a place of honour in the history of Soviet cinematography.

Tatyana Mikhailovna (Moiseyevna) Lioznova was born on 20 July, 1924 in Moscow. Her father, an engineer and economist, volunteered to the army in the very beginning of the war and was killed in the same horrible year of 1941. Her mother, a representative of intelligentsia in the highest sense of the word, with whom Tatyana lived all her life, undoubtedly, had a great impact on her daughter and her creative interests. After school Tanya entered the Moscow Aviation Institute but soon left it. In the thick of the war, in 1945, she entered VGIK (The All-Russian State Institute for Cinematography) but after a trial semester was sent down. Her teachers decided her life experience was not rich enough for such an all-embracing profession as film-director. But Tanya did not give in: she stepped in the doorway of the institute in the way of her teachers and begged them into watching her study films. Thus she was allowed to continue studying.

In VGIK Tatyana studied at the workshop of Sergei Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova. For some years she worked as assistant of film-director in the filming of ‘Molodaya gvardiya / The Young Guard’ by Sergei Gerasimov (1948), ‘Tainstvennaya nahodka’/Mysterious Finding (1953) by Boris Buneyev, and ‘Zemlya i lyudi’/The Land and the People by Stanislav Rostotsky (1955).

The first independent work of Lioznova was released in 1958: it was ‘Pamyat serdtsa’ / ‘The Memory of the Heart’ after the script by Sergei Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova.

The film Yevdokiya (1961) – is a story of a woman who became the mother to five orphans. In this movie Lioznova revealed her brilliant talent in working with the actors Lyudmila Khityayeva and Nikolai Lebedev, playing the leads. Half of the year spent at Aviation Institute manifested itself in the film Im pokoryaetsya nebo / They Conquer the Skies (1963), dedicated to the memory of pilots who perished while testing new airplanes.

The film Rano utrom / At Early Morning (1966) is quite different in its manner. Today this movie about simple working people might probably seem unsophisticated and a bit sentimental. However, the molding of the characters of young heroes, the orphaned Alesha and Nadya, the way they overcame difficulties, marks of that time, and details of everyday life make this film humane and kind.

The subtle and touching drama ‘Tri topolya na Plyushchikhe / Three Poplars at Plyuschika’ (1967) sprouted from Aleksandra Pakhmutova’s song “Tenderness”. This song blended with a short story by Aleksandr Borshchagovsky stirred the creative imagination of the film-director. The starry duet of Tatyana Doronina and Oleg Yefremov was a masterpiece of acting. This story of a nearly sprung love of a taxi driver and a married peasant woman won the hearts of Russian viewers, just like ‘Casablanca’ gained the love of Americans.

The next outstanding work remembered for several decades was the series about World War Two ‘Semnadtsat mgnoveniy vesny’ / Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973). The struggle between Stirlitz (Vyacheslav Tikhonov), a Russian intelligence officer and Heinrich Mueller (Bronevoy), a Nazi Secret Police agent, was featured against the background of the Soviet people’s fighting with fascism. The plot lines of the film are interwoven with genuinely documentary materials. Lioznova spent many long hours in film repositories while studying and selecting Soviet and German chronicles. The general stylistics of the film and methods of cameraman’s and artist’s work create the effect of a documentary true-to-life work.

In 1981 Lioznova directed two films, quite different in genre but equally noted by critics and viewers: the social drama ‘My, nizhepodpisavshiyesya / We, the Undersigned’ (1981) and the musical about a young woman’s fate ‘Karnaval’/Carnival (1981) starring Irina Muravyova.

Unfortunately one of Lioznova’s works fell out of the public’s view. In 1987 she shot a television film after Arthur Kopit’s play “The End of the World with Symposium to Follow”, a political pamphlet against nuclear war. The three series of this film were broadcasted only once.

Tatyana Mikhailovna devoted many efforts and much time to teaching. First she taught students of VGIK at the workshop of S. Gerasimov and T. Makarova, and from 1975 to 1980 she supervised the workshop on acting and directing together with Lev Kulidzhanov. Among the students of Professor Lioznova there are a lot of cinematographers well-known today.

Tatyana Mikhailovna died in Moscow at the age of 87 on 29 September 2011.

Tatyana Lioznova on imdb -

Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin


Tags: Russian cinema     

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