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Kalatozov, Mikhail

Born: 28 December 1903 in Tiflis/Tbilisi, Soviet Union (now Georgia)
Died: 27 March 1973 in Moscow, Soviet Union
His career began during the sound era, but it was during Khrushchev's thaw that Kalatozov directed several of the greatest films of the Soviet sound era. He first studied to be an economist, but after working as a projectionist decided to enter the film industry. He took acting roles at Tbilisi film studios, and soon began making his own short films and documentaries. Often writing and shooting as well as directing, his silents and early sound pictures were notable for their stunning visual style, with Vertov as a clear influence. After run-ins with state censors on two features-- Salt for Svanetia and Nail in the Boot--he was relegated to administrative positions, serving as chief administrator of soviet feature-film production during the second world war, and as Deputy Minister of film production after the war, and even spent time in Los Angeles fostering good relations with Allied filmmakers abroad. Beyond his popular wartime film, Wings of Victory, his directorial career didn't reignite until True Friends in 1954. Appearing the year after Stalin's death, it was considered the first Soviet film to depict domestic life satirically since the 1920s. With The Cranes Are Flying in 1957, Kalatozov struck a chord that reverberated throughout Soviet society. With bold themes and characterizations that ran counter to traditional models of virtue and sympathy, audiences, critics, and fellow filmmakers responded to its authentically flawed characters and sweeping melodrama, as well as to its astounding visual panache. It was seen by audiences throughout the world, and won the Palm D'Or at Cannes. With his last three films, Kalatozov continued to try new styles and tell new stories-- I Am Cuba-- seductive moving camera has spawned numerous emulators in contemporary film--and expanded his already vast reputation.

Filmography

As director:
  • The Red Tent/Krasnaya palatka, 1971;
  • I Am Cuba/Soy Cuba/Ya Kuba, 1964;
  • The Letter That Was Never Sent/Neotpravlennoye pismo, 1959;
  • The Variegateds Case/Delo 'Pyostrykh', 1958;
  • The Cranes Are Flying/Letjat zhuravli, 1957;
  • The First Echelon/Pervyj eshelon, 1955;
  • True Friends/Vernyye druz'ya, 1954;
  • Hostile Whirlwinds/Vikhri vrazhdebnyye, 1953;
  • Conspiracy of the Doomed/Zagovor obrechyonnikh, 1950;
  • Moscow Music Hall, 1945;
  • Kinokontsert k 25-letiyu Krasnoj Armij, 1943;
  • Invincible/Nepobedimyje, 1942;
  • The Red Flyer/Valeri Chkalov, 1941;
  • Courage/Muzhestvo, 1939;
  • Nail in the Boot/Lursmani cheqmashi, 1931;
  • Jim Shvante (Salt for Svaneti)/Jim Shvante (Marili Svanets), 1930;
  • The Blind Woman/Usinatlo, 1930;
  • Moscow MXAT Theatre in Tbilisi/Mkhatis teatris gastrolebi, 1929;
  • Afghan Khan in Tbilisi/Avganeli khanis chamosvla Tbilisshi, 1928;
  • Their Empire/Mati samepo, 1928;
  • Stud Farm/Tskhenebis pabrika, 1927;
  • Opening of Zahesi, Electric Power Station/Zahesis I turbinis gakhsna, 1927;
As screenwriter:
  • Invincible/Nepobedimyje, 1942;
  • Jim Shvante (Salt for Svaneti)/Jim Shvante (marili svanets), 1930;
  • Gypsy Blood/Boshuri siskhli, 1928;
  • Gjulli/Giuli, 1927;
As cinematographer:
  • Jim Shvante (Salt for Svaneti)/Jim Shvante (marili svanets), 1930;
  • Moscow MXAT Theatre in Tbilisi/Mkhatis teatris gastrolebi, 1929;
  • Afghan Khan in Tbilisi/Avganeli khanis chamosvla Tbilisshi, 1928;
  • Gypsy Blood/Boshuri siskhli, 1928;
  • Stud Farm/Tskhenebis pabrika, 1927;
  • Opening of Zahesi, Electric Power Station/Zahesis I turbinis gakhsna, 1927;
  • Gjulli/Giuli, 1927;
  • Locomotive No. 10006/Parovoz No. 10006, 1926;