“The operating principle is conflict.” How Alov and Naumov made great films for 30 years Director Alexander Alov was born 100 years ago 09.26.2023, 16:17

Youth and war

Soviet director and screenwriter Alexander Alov was born on September 26, 1923 in Kharkov. His father was a scientist in the field of agriculture and soil science, and his mother worked in a library. In 1929 the family moved to Moscow. After school, 18-year-old Alov went to war as part of the 1st Special Cavalry Regiment on the Western Front. He was shocked as he joined the defense of Moscow.

In December 1942, Alov returned to the front and fought as a Red Army soldier in the 210th Army Reserve Rifle Regiment until May 1945. He was also involved in organizing mock amateur performances during the war. Alov participated in the battles on the Don, Voronezh, Stepnoy, 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian fronts, participated in the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, the Belgorod-Kharkov operation and other major battles. At the end of January 1945, he was wounded in the head by a bullet fragment.

According to his future colleague Vladimir Naumov, the war strengthened Alov’s character, but did not anger him at all. The producer’s words were quoted by Alov’s daughter Lyubov in the book “Alov and Naumov”.

“All of Alov’s stories on the front lines, who knew the war to his bones, were very funny, sometimes crude stories. “It seems that the ‘repression’ was working subconsciously – the memory tried to reject the tragic because it is impossible to live constantly in its power,” Naumov said.

However, the military past settled in the director and seriously affected his health in the future.

coming to the cinema

After returning to civilian life, Alov entered VGIK in the directing workshop of Igor Savchenko. Over the years, the students of the famous teacher became directors Alexei Korenev (“Big Change”, “For Family Circumstances”), Marlen Khutsiev (“Spring on Zarechnaya Street”, “Ilyich’s Police Station”) and others.

After graduating from VGIK, Alov met Naumov – they helped Savchenko shoot the film “Taras Shevchenko” (1951) at the Kiev Film Studio. When the director passed away suddenly, two of his students completed the shooting of the film on their own. At that time, fewer than 10 films were released per year – Joseph Stalin watched everything and passed the edits on to the filmmakers.

It is interesting that the friendship and joint career of the two directors began with a fight. Naumov recalled this in an interview with Izvestia.

“I remember a real creative discussion about the movie “Steelworkers” that was never made. Alov believed that he had beaten me, but I proved that the fight started in his room and ended in the kitchen, where Sasha kept the door away from me with a mop. So who beat whom? “He told me that his peace was a victory,” said the director.

They quickly made up and walked hand in hand for the next 30 years.

Tandem with Naumov

The directors’ character was completely different: the eccentric Naumov, full of ideas, and the calm and thoughtful Alov, who noticed and structured his comrade’s ideas. They told each other dreams, the plots of which sometimes turned into movie scripts, and they argued a lot about everything. As Naumov recalled, the engine of their joint activity was heated discussions on various topics.

“The principle of our work with Alov is conflict. We were very different people: he fought in the war, he has a stormy biography, and I came to VGIK when I was 16 years old. And when we discuss, debate, or rehearse the part, we get louder! A great man said: “The worst thing about art is that it completely coincides with oneself.” And if we did not agree with each other, something fundamentally new emerged and ideas that were coincidental were abandoned,” Naumov said.

One of the first joint works of the directors was the film “Troubled Youth”, based on Belyaev’s “Old Fortress” trilogy, about the growth of young people during the Ukrainian Civil War. They continued the revolutionary theme with Vasily Lanov in the lead role in “Pavel Korchagin,” based on Nikolai Ostrovsky’s novel “How the Steel Was Tempered.” The third film in the revolutionary series of directors was “The Wind”, in which Alexander Demyanenko made his debut (“Ivan Vasilyevich changes his profession”, “Operation Y” and other adventures of Shurik”). Moreover, Alov and Naumov saw a dramatic actor in the future comedy star Gaidai.

In 1957, Naumov and Alov shot the war drama “Peace to the Enterer” at the Mosfilm studio. Minister of Culture Ekaterina Furtseva was angry that the soldiers of the Great Patriotic War in the film wore very shabby and greasy clothes, and received a harsh response from front-line soldier Alov:

“You’ve only seen this coat at Anıtkabir, but I’ve been wearing it for four years and I know exactly how it smells, how it feels, and what it tastes like.”

Despite Furtseva’s criticism, the film was recognized domestically and won the best director award and the Pasinetti Cup at the XXII Venice Film Festival.

In 1962, the directors shot the almanac film “Coin”, consisting of three short stories. They are set in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Despite the non-standard format for the USSR, the almanac was broadcast on Soviet television and was watched by 4.5 million people.

Not all films by Alov and Naumov were censored: the grotesque comedy “A Bad Joke”, based on the story of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, remained “on the shelf” for 20 years and was released only in 1987. Despite the ban on the film, the directors shot the adventurous film “Running” based on the play by Mikhail Bulgakov. The work was considered counter-revolutionary and they tried not to stage performances accordingly, but the directors miraculously managed to bypass censorship.

One of the most successful projects of Alov and Naumov was the detective story “Tehran-43”. In addition to stars of domestic cinema – Natalya Belokhvostikova, Igor Kostolevsky and Armen Dzhigarkhanyan – foreign artists Alain Delon and Kurd Jurgens starred in the film. The directors also shot the magnificent four-part film “The Legend of Thiel,” based on the novel by Charles de Coster, and the war drama “The Shore,” based on the work of Yuri Bondarev.

In 1963, Naumov took the post of artistic director of the creative union of writers and film workers created at the film studio. In the same year, Alov suffered a heart attack during the filming of the movie “The Shore” in Riga. He did not live several months before his 60th birthday. Naumov was very saddened by the loss of his comrade and shot the film “Alov” about him. Years later, he admitted that “a part of himself” remained with Alov.

“I alone remember the path we walked together for all these decades. We had known each other for 38 years, 33 of them as the same director. I have been working without Alov for the same period of time – 33 years – but do not be surprised that the story I tell in the first person often turns into “we”.

After his friend left, Naumov continued to work alone. His films include the detective story “Handless Clocks”, the melodrama “Mona Lisa on Asphalt” and the children’s film “Pushkin’s Fairy Tales”. The Story of Tsar Saltan” was created together with his daughter Natalya. The director lived for 93 years – passed away on November 29, 2021.

September 26, 2023 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of director Alexander Alov. For about 30 years he worked together with Vladimir Naumov – in the credits their names stood next to each other and were perceived as a single whole. They made 11 films, each of which turned into a big event: “Running”, “Tehran-43”, “Coast”, the four-part “Legend of Tila” and others. socialbites.ca tells about the joint journey of Alov and Naumov.

Source: Gazeta


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