Friedrich Gorenstein

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Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein
Friedrich Naumowitsch Gorenstein (1994) by Guenter Prust.jpg
Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein in 1994
Born Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein
March 18, 1932
Kiev
Died March 2, 2002(2002-03-02) (aged 69)
Berlin
Occupation Author and screenwriter
Language Russian
Nationality Russian
Ethnicity Jewish
Notable work(s) "Дом с башенкой" (The House with the Tower) (1964)
Solaris (1972)

Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein (Russian: Фридрих Наумович Горенштейн), or Fridrikh Gorenshtein, was a Russian author and screenwriter. His works primarily deal with Stalinism, anti-Semitism, and the philosophical-religious view of a peaceful coexistence between Jews and Christians.

Biography[edit]

Gorenstein was born in 1932 to Jewish intellectuals in an orphanage. His father, a political economist, died under Stalinist anti-Semitic cleansings, maintained by the intelligence State Political Directorate (GPU). He was arrested and exiled to a gulag, where he was shot down in 1935 after trying to escape.[1] His mother, an educator, died of tuberculosis in 1943 in a hospital in Orenburg. After her death, Gorenstein was raised by relatives in Ukraine who brought him with them to the Caucasus during the war.[2]

Following World War II, Gorenstein struggled as an unskilled worker, until Nikita Krushchev's De-Stalinization allowed him to return to Kiev.[2] He studied mining in Dnipropetrovsk in the 1950s and worked as a miner and mining engineer in the Ural Mountains and Ukraine.[3]

Gorenstein moved to Moscow in 1962 to complete his scenarist course at the State Film University. He began writing screenplays to support himself. Most of his adaptions were censored, but he managed to finish his works, including writing the script for the 1972 science fiction film Solaris, directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.[2] He also wrote books, but none were published except "Дом с башенкой" (The House with the Tower) (1964).[2]

In 1977 Gorenstein released his works through foreign emigration presses to bypass censorship. That and his membership in the forbidden writers union and Almanach Metropol by Vasily Aksyonov got him in trouble with the Soviet government. He received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service and emigrated to Berlin in 1979, working there as a writer until his death in 2002.[2][4] His novel Place was nominated for the 1992 Russian Booker Prize.[5]

In 1995 he was a member of the jury at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.[6]

Themes[edit]

Gorenstein's themes reflect the repressive political life he witnessed in Communist Russia. He expressed his belief in a united, peaceful nation with conformity and without totalitarism and anti-Semitism. His work The House with the Tower has existentialist themes in the style of Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Other works move away from existentialism and incorporate religious themes, particularly Judaism. One example is Berdychev, which recounts the life of a Jew in Russia.[2]

Selected works[edit]

Filmography[edit]

  • 1966: Первый учитель (The First Teacher)
  • 1972: Нечаянные радости (Unintentional Joy) (unfinished)
  • 1972: Solaris
  • 1974: The Seventh Bullet (1972 film)
  • 1975: Prisoners of Love[3]
  • 1976: Раба любви (The Slave of Love)
  • 1978: Комедия ошибок (The Comedy of Errors) (TV)
  • 1985 (produced in 1991): Infanticide[7]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Perova, Natasha (1993). Love and Fear. Northwestern University Press. p. 236. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Фридрих Наумович Горенштейн (1932-2002)" [Friedrich Naumovich Gorenstein (1932-2002)] (in Russian). Electronic Library. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Hetényi, Zsuzsa (2008). In a Maelstrom: The History of Russian-Jewish Prose (1860–1940). Central European University Press. p. 220. ISBN 963732691X. 
  4. ^ Amory Burchard (4 March 2003). "Geschichten vom Verlust" [Stories of Losses] (in German). Der Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Archive – 1992" (in Russian). Russian Booker Prize. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "19th Moscow International Film Festival (1995)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-03-16. 
  7. ^ Cody, Gabrielle H. (2007). The Columbia encyclopedia of modern drama: M-Z. Columbia University Press. p. 1169. ISBN 0231144245.