Shengelaia, Nikolai Mikhailovich
Born July 26 (Aug. 8), 1903, in the village of Obudzhi, Mingrelia; died Jan. 4, 1943, in Tbilisi. Soviet motion-picture director and screenwriter. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1935).
Shengelaia wrote poetry as a youth. He became involved in motion pictures in 1924. His first effort as a director was Giulli (1927), on which he collaborated with L. F. Push. In the 1920’s he attended a lecture course given by L. V. Kuleshov. Shengelaia’s film Eliso (1928), based on a novella by A. Kazbegi, is an outstanding Soviet silent film combining the poetry of the epic with historical authenticity. The film The 26 Commissars (1933), an innovative work of Soviet film-making, is devoted to the glorious and tragic days of the Baku Commune. In 1937, Shengelaia directed The Golden Valley. He was the author and coauthor of a number of the screenplays for the films he made.
Shengelaia, a recipient of the State Prize of the USSR in 1941, was also awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.