Mark Donskoi

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Mark Donskoy
Mark Semyonovich Donskoy
BirthplaceOdessa, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)
Film director, screenwriter
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Donskoi, Mark Semenovich


Born Feb. 21 (Mar. 6), 1901, in Odessa. Soviet film director and screenwriter. People’s Artist of the USSR (1966) and Hero of Socialist Labor (1971). Member of the CPSU since 1945.

Donskoi graduated from the division of law of the University of Simferopol’. He began his film career in 1926. His first films, made with M. A. Averbakh, were In the Big City (1928) and A Man’s Worth (1929). The film The Song of Happiness, made with V. G. Legoshin in 1934, brought him renown. Donskoi’s most important work of the 1930’s was the motion picture trilogy on the childhood and youth of M. Gorky—The Childhood of Gorky (1938, scenario by I. Gruzdev and Donskoi), In the World (1939; State Prize of the USSR, 1941), and My Universities (1940, scenario by Donskoi). The development of the writer’s personality was depicted against the broad background of provincial life in prerevolutionary Russia. The film presents original characterizations and organically combines a universal poetic principle with colorful scenes of everyday life.

During the Great Patriotic War, Donskoi filmed How the Steel Was Tempered (1942, Donskoi’s scenario based on N. A. Ostrovskii’s novel), The Rainbow (1944, after V. L. Vasilevskaia’s novella; State Prize of the USSR, 1946), and The Unvanquished (1945, after B. L. Gorbatov’s novella; scenario by Donskoi and Gorbatov). A significant achievement was the film The Rural Schoolmistress (1947; State Prize of the USSR, 1948; starring V. P. Maretskaia in the leading role), devoted to the beauty of selfless creative work. Donskoi made the film versions of Gorky’s Mother (1956, scenario by Donskoi and N. A. Kovarskii) and Foma Gordeev (1959, scenario by B. G. Bialik and Donskoi). In the 1960’s Donskoi turned to the subject of Lenin, making the films A Mother’s Heart (1966; State Prize of the USSR, 1968) and A Mother’s Fidelity (1967). He was awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and various medals.


“Kak ia stal rezhisserom.” In Kak la Stal Rezhisserom. Moscow, 1946. Pages 95-104.


“K 60-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia Marka Donskogo.” Iskusstvo Kino, 1961, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Giving significant space to the work of Aleksandr Dovzhenko and Mark Donskoi in order to explicate the complex relationship between filmmakers and the Soviet state, Hicks hypothesises that Dovzhenko's documentary, Victory in Right Bank Ukraine (Pobeda na Pravoberezhnoi Ukraine, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1945), might have expressed anti-Semitism through interviews with collaborators had the filmmaker not been stripped of the necessary resources to carry out the venture successfully after his project Ukraine in Flames had been banned by Stalin.
a paranoid view of the world on to the whole of society, with the aim of mobilizing it, by means of strengthening its feelings of anxiety, defenselessness, and loss." (37) The book is also particularly interesting on the film versions of literary classics, from the plays of Ostrovskii to the adaptations of Gor'kii's autobiographical trilogy by Mark Donskoi, revealing how Stalinist cinematic culture remade these works to its own ideological ends.
The Strange Case of (Pod)Poruchik Kizhe," Modern Language Review 102, 1 (2007): 157-76; Kaganovsky, "The Voice of Technology and the End of Soviet Silent Film: Grigorii Kozintsev and Leonid Trauberg's Alone," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 1, 3 (2007): 265-81; John Haynes, "Film as Political Football: The Goalkeeper," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 1, 3 (2007): 283-97; Lora Wheeler Mjolsness, "Dziga Vertov's Soviet Toys: Commerce, Commercialization, and Cartoons," Studies in Russian andSoviet Cinema 2, 3 (2008): 247-67; and Jeremy Hicks, "Confronting the Holocaust: Mark Donskoi's The Unvanquished," Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 3, 1 (2009): 33-51.
So he went to Moscow, where he studied at the Gorki Institute under Soviet directors Mark Donskoi and Sergei Gerasimov.
Interest in sidebars is stronger, with retrospectives scheduled for Roger Corman, Hungary's Miklos Jancso and a trio of classic Soviet directors -- Mark Donskoi, Mikhail Romm and Ivan Pyryev -- marking the centenary of their births.
Following on from Chapaev, I look at Mark Donskoi's Raduga ('The Rainbow', 1944), an acknowledged classic example of a particular genre of Soviet war films featuring women as fighters (and often avenging angels), which marks a return to the Soviet screen of not only an extreme typology of women as the touchstones of social class and behaviour but also an explicit inclusion of bodily sensuality.
This enforced self-assurance on the part of male positive heroes is also a major feature of Mark Donskoi's The Rainbow.
Although Erikson's persuasive argument is derived primarily from an analysis of Mark Donskoi's famous film of 1938, his thesis is more faithful to the original text than is suspected by critics who prefer to sentimentalize Gorky's devotion to his nurturing, folksy grandmother.
Other highlights at Molodist, which concentrates on debut pics in feature, short, docu and student categories, include retrospectives devoted to top Dutch arthouser Jos Stelling, who heads the fest jury, as well as classic Soviet helmers Mark Donskoi and Sergei Paradzhanov.