Grigorii Mikhailovich Kozintsev

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kozintsev, Grigorii Mikhailovich


Born Mar. 9 (22), 1905, in Kiev; died May 11, 1973, in Leningrad. Soviet film director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1964).

Kozintsev studied at the Petrograd Academy of the Arts. In 1921, together with L. Z. Trauberg and S. I. Iutkevich, he organized a film group called the Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEKS). In 1924 he joined the Sevzapkino studios (now Lenfil’m). Kozintsev and Trauberg, who worked together until 1946, directed the silent films The Adventures of Oktiabrina (1924), The Overcoat (1926; after N. V. Gogol’), The Devil’s Wheel (1926), and S. V. D. (1927). These films were original in technique and sought to achieve novel means of cinematic expression but sometimes they failed to move beyond formalistic experimentation.

The films that followed, such as The New Babylon (1929), indicated a shift to socially significant subject matter. The sound film Alone (1931) marked a transition to realistic art. Kozintsev and Trauberg’s The Youth of Maksim (1935), The Return of Maksim (1937), and The Vyborg Side (1939) are outstanding achievements of Soviet film art, a trilogy in which the directors created an artistically convincing type: the Russian Bolshevik worker of the revolutionary period. (B. P. Chirkov played the lead.) The civic enthusiasm and mature craftsmanship of the directors are fully in evidence in these films.

Kozintsev directed the film biographies Pirogov in 1947 and Belinskii in 1953. He made his debut as a director of legitimate theater in Leningrad with productions of Shakespeare’s tragedies King Lear in 1941, Othello in 1943, and Hamlet in 1954. Among his most important productions were the screen versions of Hamlet (1964; Lenin Prize, 1965) and King Lear (1971). These films, like Don Quixote (1957 after Cervantes), are outstanding for their profound development of the themes of humanism, social justice, and struggle against all forms of inhumanity.

Kozintsev was a teacher from 1922 to 1926 at the FEKS workshop, from 1926 to 1932 at the Leningrad Institute of Stage Arts, and from 1941 at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography. He was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1941 and 1948, two Orders of Lenin, an Order of the October Revolution, two other Orders, and a number of medals.


Nash sovremennik Vil’iam Shekspir. Leningrad-Moscow, 1962.
Glubokii ekran. Moscow, 1971.


Nedobrovo, V. FEKS, G. Kozintsev, L. Trauberg. Moscow-Leningrad, 1928.
Vaisfel’d, I. G. Kozintsev i L. Trauberg. Moscow, 1940.
Dobin, K. Kozintsev i Trauberg. [Leningrad-Moscow, 1963.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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