Mamonov was one of the few rock musicians from former USSR who managed to achieve recognition abroad, through his collaboration with Brian Eno in the late 1980s. Around the same period he started acting in films, and over the next decade wrote, produced and acted in several one-man theatrical performances establishing himself as a cult figure in Russia.
One of Mamonov's best-known film appearances is in the leading role in Pavel Lungin's 1990 Taxi Blues. His theatre creations include Is There Life on Mars?, an absurdist take on Anton Chekhov's A Marriage Proposal, and Chocolate Pushkin, which makes a comical reference to (but doesn't cite) the Russian national poet Alexander Pushkin. Piotr explains the name for the album as his own comparison to a popular DJ who calls himself "Black Elvis" and also describes the genre on this record as "lit-hop" (literature hip-hop).
In the 1990s, Mamonov converted to Orthodox Christianity, left the capital, and settled in a village. In 2001 he appeared in a short but characteristic role in Serguei Loban's "Dust" (Russian: Пыль) that was released only 4 years later and became a cult movie. He returned to play the lead role in Pavel Lungin's religious film "The Island" (Russian "Остров"), which closed the 2006 Venice Film Festival. His acting in the film was praised by Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow, and won him a Best Actor Nika Award.
In 2009 Pavel Lungin invited him again to appear in his new production entitled "Tsar" (Russian "Царь"). Mamonov plays the title hero, here, tsar Ivan the Terrible, a character torn between passionate faith and cruelty in its name.
- "Festival de Cannes: Taxi Blues". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
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