MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Films by Vladimir Naumov, filmed in tandem with Alexander Alov and independently, are loved by more than one generation of viewers. They are known not only in Russia – the paintings “The Legend of Thiel” (1976) and “Peace to the Incoming” (1961) “, for example, were awarded prizes at famous European film screenings. Director, screenwriter, teacher Vladimir Naumov died on November 29. He was 93 years old.
Son of an actress and cameraman
He was born in 1927 into the family of Naum Naumov-Strazh, one of the leading cameramen of the Science and Technology newsreel and actress of the Chamber Theater Agniya Burmistrova. As a child, he was surrounded by a creative atmosphere – friends and colleagues often came to his parents. The director Igor Savchenko lived next door to them, who, by the way, later became one of Vladimir Naumov’s teachers at VGIK. Of course, the venerable director did not help his novice colleague with admission – Vladimir Naumovich paved his way himself.
In his second year at VGIK, Savchenko, seeing talent in Naumov, invited him to be his assistant in his new military film “The Third Strike”, at the same time offering him to play the episodic role of a young lieutenant. He did not refuse the role, however, Naumov did not love the acting profession: he only made sure that he still wants to be on the other side of the camera. Subsequently, he sometimes still agreed to small roles. In 1969, he played the staff captain in Alexander Mitta’s film Burn, Burn, My Star, and in 1970, the police colonel in Alexander Gordon’s Theft. You can also see the director in two of his later works – the films “Clocks without hands” and “La Gioconda on the pavement”.
Then, after “The Third Impact”, cooperation with Igor Savchenko continued – the novice director became his assistant in the next film, “Taras Shevchenko”. On the set, Vladimir Naumov made friends with fellow student Alexander Alov, also an assistant.
After filming the film, Savchenko died suddenly, and Alov and Naumov were instructed to make some adjustments to the film instead of him. This is how one of the most famous tandems of Soviet cinema was formed.
In 1951, Vladimir Naumovich received the coveted diploma of graduation from VGIK. Unlike many of his fellow students, he has already made a name for himself.
The famous tandem
The young directors were immediately invited to work by the Kiev Film Studio named after Alexander Dovzhenko. There they filmed “Anxious Youth” based on “The Old Fortress” by Vladimir Belyaev, “Pavel Korchagin” based on the novel “How the Steel Was Tempered” by Nikolai Ostrovsky. Working on them, Alov and Naumov quickly learned to find compromises.
Six years later, a tempting offer of cooperation came from Ivan Pyriev, the creator of Pig and Shepherd, Kuban Cossacks and other famous films – he invited them to Mosfilm. This is how the picture “Peace to the Incoming” appeared, which brought Alov and Naumov nationwide fame, as well as a special jury prize for the best director’s work and the Pasinetti Cup at the XXII Venice Film Festival.
In total, the directors shot 11 films together, they themselves wrote scripts for them. One of the best is considered “Running” based on the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, filmed in 1970. The Russian-French film Tehran-43 was also very successful. In 1980, he became the leader of the Soviet film distribution, and then was nominated for the USSR State Prize. In addition to a fascinating detective story and talented directorial work, the film also surprised with an unusual cast of actors. The company to Igor Kostolevsky, Armen Dzhigarkhanyan, Natalia Belokhvostikova was made up of world stars – Kurd Yurgens, Claude Jade, Alain Delon. It was Naumov’s idea to invite the latter to the role of police inspector Georges Foch.
Another important film of the tandem is The Legend of Thiel (1976), based on the novel The Legend of Thiel Ulenspiegel by the Belgian writer Charles de Coster. The Legend of Thiel, consisting of two two-part films (Ashes of Klaas and Long Live the Beggars), was filmed in Tallinn, Gdansk and Jurmala. The role of the fearless Thiel Ulenspiegel, the hero of medieval Flemish folklore, was played by Lembit Ulfsak, his tender friend Nele – Natalia Belokhvostikova, and the good friend of Lamme Gudzak – by Yevgeny Leonov. In 1978, the film received three awards at the All-Union Film Festival in Yerevan. The film was also noted in Europe: “The Legend of Thiel” was awarded the main prize of the jury of the Brussels International Film Festival and a special prize of film producers in Norway.
Alexander Alov died in 1983. Naumov shot a documentary in his honor, and then continued to shoot feature films, but already alone – he could not have another partner. Vladimir Naumovich created such films as “Choice”, “Law”, “Ten Years Without Correspondence” and others. The actors who worked with him spoke of him as a strict and fair director.
In the early 1990s, Naumov planned to shoot a film with Italian and French film star Marcello Mastroianni. The script for the film, which was to be called “The Mystery of Marcello”, he wrote together with Tonino Guerra – the legend of Italian cinema, regular screenwriter of films by Federico Fellini. At the stage of preparation for filming, the sad news came about the death of Mastroianni. Then Naumov and Guerra changed the script, and offered the main role to Innokenty Smoktunovsky. The film was released under the title “White Holiday”. In 1995 he received a special prize “Amarcord” at the International Film Festival in Rimini (Italy).
Naumov also worked with Guerra on the script for the next two films, Hours Without Hands (2001) and La Gioconda on the Pavement (2007). Work on the last picture – “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” – was never completed. The master worked on the film together with his daughter Natalia Naumova.
Educator and theater director
Since 1968, Vladimir Naumovich taught directing at the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Directors named after G.N. Danelia. Soon, together with Alov, he began to lead a workshop for stage directors of a children’s feature film. In 1980, Naumov opened a workshop in his alma mater. A few years later he became a professor at VGIK.
Vladimir Naumov tried himself as a theater director. In 1971, Oleg Tabakov invited him and Alexander Alov to Sovremennik. The duo staged the play Toot, Others and Major based on the play by Hungarian playwright Istvan Erken, very popular in the USSR.
In 1965, Vladimir Naumov received the title of Honored Artist of the RSFSR. He was awarded the title of People’s Artist of the RSFSR in 1974, People’s Artist of the USSR in 1983.
In 1987, Naumov received the Order of Friendship of Peoples (for his services in the development of Soviet cinema and in connection with his sixtieth birthday). Also among his awards are the Order of Merit to the Fatherland IV (1997), II (2007) and III degree (2018). In 2013, Vladimir Naumovich received the Order of Honor for great services in the development of national culture and art, many years of fruitful activity.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.