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 Vladimir Motyl

Born:   26 June 1927
Deceased:   21 February 2010

Film Director


Vladimir Motyl was born on June 26th, 1927 in Lepiel settlement, Belorussia. His father Yakov Danilovich Motyl was a Polish emigrant. His mother Berta Antonovna Levina was a graduate of the Petrograd Teachers Training College.

Three years after Vladimir's birth his father was seized by officials of Cheka and sent to a concentration camp on Solovki where he perished within less than a year. The lot his mother’s sisters and brothers and parents was also tragic. Together with his mother Vova, a preschooler then, found himself in exile in the Northern Urals. His mother got permission to work as a teacher in a colony of juvenile criminals. Out of her salary Vova’s mother found money to subscribe for his favorite magazine Soviet screen. Vladimir Motyl graduated from Actor's Department of Sverdlovsk Theater Institute (1948), History Faculty of Sverdlovsk University (1957). Vladimir Motyl made his debut at Tajik Film Studio in Children of Pamir (1963).

However, his true debut as a film director was the feature film Zhenya, Zhenechka, and "Katyusha" (1965) co-written by Vladimir Motyl together with Bulat Okudzhava. It was the first comedy about war and the fact did not please officials. Nevertheless it was released and the film was triumphed success with viewers. Frontline adventures and escapades of the unlucky hero played by Oleg Dal’, caused homeric laughter and gained enormous popularity to the film.

And yet, real nationwide fame came to Vladimir Motyl after the release of the adventure film White Sun of the Desert (1969). This skillfully made Soviet western about struggle for establishment of the Soviet power in Central Asia at once became a cult film. Splendid ensemble of actors, such as Anatoly Kuznetsov, Pavel Luspekaev, Spartak Mishulin, who played the best roles there, folklore motives (protagonist’s letters to the wife), extremely topical collisions — all this things contributed to the great success of the film.

For the 150 anniversary of revolt of decembrists Motyl directed film The Captivating Star of Happiness, but his approach to this theme was unexpected. The film tells not about the secret society and the decembrists revolt but about events that followed it about trials which decembrists wives faced who followed their husbands to Siberia in exile.

Stunning successes of Motyl’s witty films always irritated the party officials. Finally under different pretexts they baned Motyl’s work The Wood (1980), based on A.N. Ostrovsky’s playi. Despite of constant oppressions, Motyl managed to write the script and film tragicomic fantasy Incredible Bet (1984) after Chekhov’s short stories. Also Motyl co-wrote with A. Salynsky the script for TV Film, Motyl a two-part television movie There Lived Shishlov (1987). The film was focused on ugly skews in public life of the Russian remote places as a result Bolshevik’s breaking of traditional values.

After a long break Motyl returned to cinema during Perestroika: he wrote scenario for two series romantic parable based on F.Iskander’s short story and directed the film Let’s part while we a good (1991). Besides, during the Postrperestroika period Motyl directed the film Gone with the Horses (1996). It is an original adaptation of Chekhov’s Duel to modern Russian reality. The concept was interesting but the implementation was not Chekhovian.

In 2004 Motyl started making the film based on real facts from the life of his parents. The working title of the film — Crimson Color of Snowfall.

Tags: Russian cinema Russian directors Vladimir Motyl   

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