Igor Savchenko

Savchenko, Igor’ Andreevich

 

Born Sept. 28 (Oct. 11), 1906, in Vinnitsa; died Dec. 14, 1950, in Moscow. Soviet motion-picture director. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1944). Member of the CPSU from 1944.

In his youth, Savchenko acted in various theaters of young workers, later becoming a director of the ones in Baku and Moscow. In 1933 he played the role of the Social Revolutionary leader in the film Twenty-six Commissars. In 1932 he directed the propaganda film Men Without Hands. Savchenko was the first Soviet director to film a musical comedy, Accordion (1934), based on a narrative poem by A. A. Zharov. Savchenko acted in it as well, playing Tosklivyi, the son of a kulak.

Savchenko treated historical and revolutionary themes in his children’s film The Ballad of Cossack Golota (1937) and the film Guerrilla Brigade (1939), which dealt with the Civil War of 1918 in the Ukraine. He made an outstanding contribution to Soviet film-making with the heroic folk epic Bogdan Khmel’nitskii (1941), developing the theme of friendship between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. The film featured a host of vivid characters inspired by poetic folk traditions and imagery based on Ukrainian legends.

Savchenko depicted events of the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) in the films Partisans in the Ukrainian Steppes (1943), Ivan Nikulin—Russian Sailor (1945), and The Third Blow (also released as The Southern Junction, 1948). In 1947 he directed the musical comedy Old-time Vaudeville. Savchenko’s last film, Taras Shevchenko (1951), was completed by his students. The film’s hero, the great poet, embodied the principal motif of Savchenko’s work—the imperishable courage of the Ukrainian people in their struggle for social liberation. Savchenko, in addition to his career as a director, taught at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography.

Savchenko received the State Prize of the USSR in 1942, in 1949, and, posthumously, in 1952. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor and various medals.

WORKS

”Kak ia stal rezhisserom.” In the collection Kak ia stal rezhisserom. Moscow, 1946.

REFERENCES

Zak M., L. Parfenov, and O. Iakubovich-Iasny. Igor’ Savchenko. Moscow, 1959.

M. KH. ZAK

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