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 Mikhail Romm

Born:   11 January 1901
Deceased:   01 November 1971

Film Director


The great Russian film director Mikhail Romm lived and worked in hard and troubled times of the Soviet regime. A man of iron will and indomitable perseverance he was a very kind person. He brought up a whole galaxy of brilliant film-directors, including Andrei Tarkovsky, Grigori Chukhrai, Vasili Shukshin, Nikita Mikhalkov, Georgi Daneliya, Aleksandr Mitta, Igor Talankin, Rezo Chkheidze, Gleb Panfilov, Vladimir Basov, Tengiz Abuladze, and many others.

Mikhail Ilyich Romm was born on January 11, 1901 in Irkutsk where his father, a social democrat, had been exiled to. His mother was a passionate theatre lover and imparted her love for art to her children.

Mikhail Romm From the age of nine I grew up in Moscow, Mikhail Romm writes I graduated from gymnasium in 1917 and entered the Moscow College for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. I decided to become a sculptor. However it did not prevent me from developing in the field of theatre, as an actor.

In the hard years of the so-called war communism Romm found himself in the Red Army, as a soldier, then a telephone operator, and even an inspector.

Pyshka (1934) In 1925 he graduated from the Faculty of Sculpture. Literature was another passion of his. In the 1920s Romm translated the French classics: Flober, Maupassant, and Zola. Moreover, he wrote novels, stories and short stories himself.

In the early 1930s Romm started working as an assistant of director. Later he was offered to direct a film himself, but under severe conditions. The result was Romms Boule de suif (Pyshka (1934)). This movie initiated Romms collaboration with cameraman Boris Volchek (19051974).

In 1936 marshal Voroshilov watched the Western movie The Lost Patrol (1934) by John Ford and suggested that Soviet cinematographers would make their own version. Poster for Lenin in 1918 (1939)Mikhail Romm directed The Thirteen (Trinadtsat (1936)) that glorified a feat of the Red Army men. The only female role in this movie was played by Yelena Kuzmina (1909-1979), who became Romms wife till the end of his life.

The 1937-1939 saw the release of Romms famous dilogy about Lenin (Lenin in October (1937) and Lenin in 1918 (1939)). The official acknowledgment of these films put Mikhail Romm among the leading Soviet film directors.

Mikhail Romm. Selected Works in Three Volumes book cover Dream (Mechta(1943)) starring Faina Ranevskaya and other brilliant actors is considered the pinnacle of Romms creation. It was made right before the war. The film reveals deep spiritual crises, material and spiritual misery of inhabitants of a hostel titled Dream (Mechta). President Roosevelt said it was one of the greatest films in the world.

During the war Romm stayed in Moscow, while his wife was evacuated to Tashkent with a cinematographic group, and their daughter was in Ufa.

Mikhail Romm In 1945 Romm directed the film Girl No. 217 (Chelovek No. 217 (1945)) about a Soviet girl enslaved by fascists. The film took a prize at the Cannes festival and Stalin award.

In the late 1940s-early 1950s Romm directed The Russian Question (Russkiy vopros, 1947) after Konstantin Simonovs play and Secret Mission (Sekretnaya missiya, 1950). The historic dilogy Admiral Ushakov and Attack from the Sea (Korabli shturmuyut bastiony (1952-1953) was shot after the play Admirals Flag by A. Stein. These works took plenty of Romms energy.

On his 70th jubilee, with Grigorii Chukhrai In the mid 50s film directors were prohibited to employ their wives in their films. So Romm had to invite another actress, Yevgeniya Kozyreva to star in his film (Ubiystvo na ulitse Dante) Murder on Dante Street (1956). In spite of its success with the public Romm was disappointed with that work; it condemned him to silence lasting for six years. However, he went on teaching in VGIK, writing, and heading the Third Creative Association on Mosfilm.

Nine Days of One Year (1962) In 1962 Romm shot a prominent film about young nuclear physicists Nine Days of One Year that turned true revelation for those years. The documentary film Obyknovennyy fashizm (Common Fascism), aka A Night of Thoughts (1965) about the Third Reich attracted attention of over forty million viewers. No other historic documentary won such a numerous audience. The film consists mainly of archive documents, several documentary scenes shot specially for the film, and the narrators text pronounced by the film director himself.

Mikhail Romm Romm intended another chronicle documentary under the title World Today, but he did not have enough time left to finish it. His disciples Marlen Khutsiyev, Elem Klimov, and German Lavrov finished the film and titled it And Still I Believe... , (I vsyo-taki ya veryu.. (1974)). But Romms voice sounds in the film. He had prepared for this role and recorded the text. The phonogram covers the history of two world wars, till the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima. Afterwards the display shows: Here the narrators voice breaks off Subtitles will follow.

Mikhail Ilyich Romm died on November 1, 1971. His notes say: I need only ten more years and then Ill have time to finish everything

    Mikhail Romm on imdb:

Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin


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