Chervona Ruta (film)

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For other uses, see Chervona Ruta (disambiguation).
Chervona Ruta
typical Bukovinian costumes (traditional folk art of Western Ukraine)
Directed by Roman Oleksiv
Produced by Roman Oleksiv
Written by Miroslav Skochilyas
Starring Sofia Rotaru
Vasyl Zinkevych
Music by V. Gromtsev, Volodymyr Ivasyuk (also lyricist), Levko Dutkivsky, E. Kolmanovsky, Don Backy, B. Yanivsky, M. Skorik
Distributed by Ukrtelefilm
Release dates Soviet Union 1 January 1971
Running time 45 min.
Country USSR, Ukrainian SSR
Language Ukrainian (songs)
Russian (dialogue)

Chervona Ruta is a 1971 Soviet Ukrainian musical film written by Miroslav Skochilyas and directed by Roman Oleksiv, starring Sofia Rotaru and Vasyl Zinkevych alongside popular Soviet Ukrainian ensembles. One of the first modern Soviet musical films, and the first modern Ukrainian musical filmed in Bukovina and the Carpathian mountains in the Ukrainian SSR, Chervona Ruta features short dialogues combined with legendary pop-folk songs in the Ukrainian language and characteristic Western Ukraine dances in modern pop choreography.

Translated from the Ukrainian, Chervona Ruta means "Red Rue". However, the expression became a proper noun and is generally not translated. The term Chervona Ruta derives from the old East Slavic legend, according to which the girl who will find Chervona Ruta on the Ivan Kupala Day, will be happy in love.


Oksana (played by Sofia Rotaru) is a young and beautiful Carpathian girl. On the "Donetsk-Verkhovyna" train she becomes acquainted with a young miner from Donetsk called Boris. The travellers fall in love, but are parted when they arrive at their destination. In the Carpathian mountains their paths diverge, but Boris (played by Vasyl Zinkevych, soloist of the instrumental band Smerichka) discovers where she is staying. The couple meet again and rekindle their love. Their friends invite them to perform in a concert for vacationers at a mountain resort,[1] where they sing of their feelings for each other.



The idea to make a movie about Ukrainian pop-folk culture set in the Carpathian mountains arose from the fame of Smerichka and the popularity of the song "Chervona Ruta" in the Soviet Union. The original idea was to make a movie about Smerichka, using Vasily Zinkevich as the main actor (another soloist from the group, Nazary Yaremchuk, had also been considered). As there was no female leading actor in Smerichka the scenario was changed to a simple plot about a sudden blaze of love between Boris, an unsophisticated miner, and the Bukovinian beauty Oksana. By 1971 Sofia Rotaru was already a well-known singer in Bukovina both for her pop-folk songs and for her victory at the 1968 International Song Festival in Bulgaria. She was at that time a teacher at the Chernivtsi Musical College. When filming of the first Ukrainian musical started in Yaremche Rotaru was given the role of Oksana.

In the film Sofia Rotaru performs "Grey-winged Bird" - the Italian hit song Italian: Immensità, professionally translated in Ukrainian by Roman Kudlik, "Draw Me the Night" and "Autumn Is Close", and also (in duet with Zinkevych) "Vodohray".

The recording of "Vodohray" by the tenor Vasily and the alto Sofia was not used in the final version of the film. Instead Nazariy Yaremchyuk performed for Vasyl Zinkevych, and Mariya Isak performed for Sofia Rotaru. In the film Maria Isak appears fifth in the row of five girls, for a couple of seconds. It appears that the original performance had a defective soundtrack.[2]

The fact that the soundtrack for the song "Vodohray" was recorded by other singers was revealed only thirty years after. After the release of the television movie, the singers became unexpectedly famous in the USSR and in Eastern Europe. These seemingly amateur (but talented) singers became committed to the professional stage. Sofia Rotaru did change, and Mariya Isak had a son born to her and eventually withdrew from the stage to raise her family.

  • Director producer: R. Oleksiv
  • Scenario: M.Skochilyas, R. Oleksiv
  • Sound operator: V. Strihovich
  • Caneraman: A. Derbinyan
  • Direcot assistant: A. Savchenko
  • Cameraman assistant: A. Ermolichik
  • Montage: V. Chernousova, N. Kovali
  • Editor: T. Derzkaya
  • Director: B. Dubitskiy


[3] Song Performed by Authors Commentaries
1 Spring Came
Russian: Театр/Teatr
Sofia Rotaru Lyrics:
2 On Fast Trains
Russian: Говорят/Govoryat
Sofia Rotaru Lyrics:
3 No One's
Russian: Эхо верности/Ekho vernosti
Sofia Rotaru Lyrics:


  1. ^ The Carpathian mountains are a popular Soviet/Ukrainian vacation resort for ski-ing in winter and rafting in summer.
  2. ^ Chervona Ruta
  3. ^ Chronological order

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