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Piryev, Ivan

Born: 4 November 1901, Kamen-na-Obi, Altai province, Russia
Died: 7 February 1968, Moscow, Russia
Film director Ivan Piryev, along with Grigori Aleksandrov, was the leading author of Soviet musical comedies, one of the few well-developed popular genres within the system of Stalinist film culture.
As a young man, he fought for two years in the World War I- was awarded, injured, hospitalized. During the civil war he served in the Red Army. In 1922, he came to the people's experimental theatre, headed at that time by Sergei Eiseinstein. After leaving theater for film, he very soon won the reputation of a best assistant film director. He was selecting actors, taking part in crowd scenes and did editing. Pyryev's first films - satirical comedies – ‘The Foreign Woman’ (1929) and ‘The Civil Servant' (1930), were a combination of grotesque and details of everyday life. After the critics claimed that satire and negative characters are out of place in socialist art, Piryev rejected satire forever, while he stucked to the genre of comedy. Piryev’s musical comedies from Stalin time became a kind of model in cinematography of the 1930s-1940s.They were a hymn to labor and love, they did not feature life as it was but as it should have been. In the mid-1950s (so-called thaw) when he was accused of the embellishment of real life and misleading the public, Piryev decided to make a new begin – he made the film adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novels - 'The Idiot', 'The White Nights' and 'The Brothers Karamazov'. While working on the last one he died on the heart attack. The film was completed by actors Mikhail Ulyanov and Kirill Lavrov, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1969.

Filmography (as director unless otherwise noted):

  • The Brothers Karamazov / Bratya Karamazovy, 1969;
  • The Light of a Distant Star / Svet dalyokoy zvezdy, 1965;
  • Our Common Friend / Nash obshchiy drug, 1961;
  • White Nights / Belye nochi, 1959;
  • The Idiot / Idiot, 1958;
  • Devotion / Ispytanie vernosti, 1954;
  • Friendship Triumphs / Freundschaft siegt, 1952;
  • Cossacks of the Kuban / Kubanskie kazaki, 1949;
  • The Ballad of Siberia / Skazanie o zemle sibirskoy, 1947;
  • Six O'Clock in the Evening After the War / V shest chasov vechera posle voyny, 1944;
  • The District Secretary / Sekretar raykoma, 1942;
  • They Met in Moscow / Svinarka i pastukh, 1941;
  • The Beloved / Lyubimaya devushka, 1940;
  • Tractor-Drivers / Traktoristy, 1939;
  • The Country Bride / Bogataya nevesta, 1938;
  • Anna / Partiynyy billet, 1936;
  • The Conveyor of Death / Konveer smerti, 1933;
  • The Civil Servant / Gosudarstvennyy chinovnik, 1930;
  • The Foreign Woman / Postoronnyaya zhenshchina, 1929;