Yuri Ilyenko

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Yuriy Illyenko
Born (1936-07-18)18 July 1936
Cherkasy, Ukrainian SSR, USSR (now Cherkasy, Ukraine)
Died 15 June 2010(2010-06-15) (aged 73)
Prokhorivka, Ukraine
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, director of photography
Years active 1960-2002

Yuriy Illyenko (18 July 1936 – 15 June 2010) was a Soviet film director and screenwriter. He directed twelve films between 1965 and 2002. His 1970 film The White Bird Marked with Black was entered into the 7th Moscow International Film Festival where it won the Golden Prize.[1]

Ilyenko was one of Ukraine's most influential filmmakers. His films were representing Ukraine and what was happening to it. His films were banned in the USSR for their suspected anti Soviet symbolism. Only in the recent years have his films been re released and open to the public.[2]


Ilyenko was born in Cherkasy in 1936 but during World War II he and his family where evacuated to Siberia while his father was in the Red Army.[3] He graduated high school in Moscow and in 1960 Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in 1960.[4] From 1960 till 1963 he worked as the director of photography at the Yalta Film Studio.[3] In 1963 Ilyenko became operator and then director at Dovzhenko Film Studios.[3] His 1965 film "Spring for the thirsty" (scenario by Ivan Drach) and 1968 film "Vechir Na Hutori Ivan Kupala" where both banned by the Soviet authorities till 1988.[3] His 1971 film "The White Bird Marked with Black", received the grand prize of the Moscow Film Festival, but at the 24th Congress of the Communist Party of Ukraine the film was (also) banned and branded "the most harmful movie that has ever been made in Ukraine, especially harmful to young people".[3] His next film "To dream and to live" (scenario by Ivan Mykolaychuk and himself) was stopped 42 times at various stages of production.[3] Ilyenko then emigrated to Yugoslavia, where shoot the film "To live in spite of everything".[3] The film won "Silver" at Pula Film Festival and the prize for best actor.[3] In the Ukrainian SSR, the picture was not allowed to be shown.[3] His 1983 film "Lesnaya pesnya. Mavka" won the FIPRESCI Prize.[3] In 1987 Ilyenko received the title of People's Artist of Ukraine.[3] His 1990 film "Swan Lake "The Zone"" again won the FIPRESCI Prize.[3] In 1991 and 1992 Ilyenko was Chairman of the Ukrainian Cinema Foundation.[3] in 1991 he was awarded the Shevchenko National Prize.[3] His 1994 documentary about Sergei Parajanov received the "Golden Knight" at the film festival Cinema City.[3] In 1996 he became a member of the Academy of Arts of Ukraine.[3] His 2002 film "A Prayer for Hetman Mazepa" was banned from rental in Russia.[3]

In the 2007 parliamentary elections Ilyenko was placed second on the election list of All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda", but at that election the party received 0.76% of the votes cast and did not make it to parliament.[4][5]

Ilyenko died on 15 June 2010 at the age of 74, after a long illness, of cancer.[3]


Ilyenko was married to fellow director Lyudmyla Yefymenko[6] and had two sons[3] Andriy Illyenko (born 1987) and (also film actor and producer) Pylyp Ilyenko (born 1977).[7] During the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election Pylyp was № 122 on the election list of "Svoboda" and Andriy was electable as a candidate for the same party in single mandate constituency № 215; Andriy was elected into parliament, Pylyp not.[7][8][9]

Selected filmography[edit]


External links[edit]