Aleksei Yuryevich German

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Aleksei Yuryevich German (in Russian: Алексей Юрьевич Герман; July 20, 1938 – February 21, 2013)[1] was a Soviet and Russian filmmaker, most active as a director and screenwriter. His last name is pronounced with a hard "g" and in English is frequently spelled Guerman or Gherman to avoid confusion.

Biography[edit]

German was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia) in 1938; his father was the writer Yuri German.[2] He studied under Grigori Kozintsev until 1960, and then moved on to working in theatre before joining the Lenfilm studio as an assistant director. He made his directing debut with Sedmoy Sputnik, co-directed with Grigory Aronov in 1967. Over the course of his career, many of his projects have met with production difficulties or official opposition; in 40 years, he has managed to complete just five feature films, with a sixth (a science fiction film) entering production in 2007.

Trial on the Road (1971) is a film that made Alexei German famous. It was banned for fifteen years and was "on the shelves" of the Ministry of Culture of the Soviet Union until its triumphal release (1986) during Gorbachev era. However names of all of the crew members who emigrated to the United States (DP Yasha Sklansky (or Yakov Sklyansky), Assistant Director Leo Zisman (or Leonid Zisman) and Production Manager and Assistant Director Leon Weinstein (or Leonid A. Weinstein)) were erased. Same is true with another "Lenfilm" crew member name of another German's film (Twenty Days Without War, 1976), Natalia G. Toreeva, who worked as the Costume Designer in this film, and who also emigrated to the United States.

In 1987, on the Rotterdam International Film Festival (Netherlands), Alexei German, as a Director, had received a KNF Award for his three films, Trial on the Road, Twenty Days Without War, and My Friend Ivan Lapshin.

Alexei German is survived by his wife, the screenwriter Svetlana Kamalita, and his son. His son, a film director, is also named Aleksei German.

Style[edit]

Almost all of German's films were set during the Joseph Stalin era and the World War Two, and have shown the time period in a critical light. His films, shot mostly in black and white or very muted color, have a distinctive "murky" look and are often described as looking "aged." He was known for his obstinacy as a director, for featuring protagonists who could be categorized neither as heroes nor antiheroes, and for casting actors against type.[3]

This Soviet and Russian director, who made only four solo directed films, had huge influence on the generation of film directors in USSR and Russia but is relatively unknown in the West.

Filmography[edit]

As director[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Legendary Soviet Filmmaker Dies at 74". The Moscow Times. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Bergan, Ronald (26 February 2013). "Aleksei German obituary". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.filmcomment.com/article/the-strange-case-of-russian-maverick-aleksei-german Film Comment, March/April 2012