Sergei Urusevskii

Urusevskii, Sergei Pavlovich


Born Dec. 10 (23), 1908, in St. Petersburg; died Nov. 12, 1974, in Moscow. Soviet cameraman and motion-picture director. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1951). Member of the CPSU from 1942.

In 1935, Urusevskii graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Fine Arts (formerly the Higher Art and Technical School and the studio of V. A. Favorskii). He began working in the cinema in 1935 and became a cameraman at the Soiuzdetfil’m Motion-picture Studio in 1937. He shot films at the front during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). His most important work immediately after the war was A Village Schoolteacher (1947). Beginning in 1950, Urusevskii worked at the Mosfil’m Studio. He shot color films under the directors V. I. Pudovkin (The Return of Vasilii Bortnikov, 1953), Iu. la. Raizman (The Bearer of the Gold Star, 1951); The Lesson of Life, 1955), and G. N. Chukhrai (The Forty-first, 1956).

Urusevskii shot his major films in collaboration with the director M. K. Kalatozov. They include The First Echelon (1956), The Letter That Wasn’t Sent (1960), I Am Cuba (1964), and The Cranes Are Flying (1957). The Cranes Are Flying, the best of his films, was noted for its innovative camera technique and was awarded numerous prizes, including the grand prix at the 11th international Cannes Film Festival. In the 1960’s, Urusevskii directed and shot the feature films The Ambler’s Race (1969; after Aitmatov’s novella Farewell, Gul’sary) and Sing Your Song, Poet (1972).

Urusevskii’s dynamic, picturesque, poetic style has appreciably enriched the Soviet art of camera technique.

Urusevskii has been awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1948, 1952), two orders, and various medals.