Benya Krik

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Yuri Shumsky [ru] as Benya Krik

Benya Krik (Russian: Беня Крик) is a fictional character from The Odessa Tales, a collection of short stories by Isaac Babel, the derived works and "fan fiction".

These stories primarily deal with the Jewish underworld of Moldavanka, a ghetto of Odessa, and the mob leader, Benya Krik, known as the King, a romanticized "gallant thug". His character was loosely based on the real gangster, Mishka Yaponchik.[1]

These stories were the base of the 1927 silent film Benya Krik.[2] The screenplay was published in 1926 in a book form titled Беня Крик (кино-повесть) ("Benya Krik (Cinema-Novel)").[3]

In 1926–1928 Babel wrote a play Sunset loosely based on the story with the same name from The Odessa Tales.[4] In 1990 a film Sunset [ru] was shot based on the same story.[5] The focus of the three works is not Benya himself, but his family.

A film The Art of Living in Odessa [ru] was released in 1989, directed by Georgi Yungvald-Khilkevich and based on The Odessa Tales.

A musical film titled The Drayman and the King was directed by Vladimir Alenikov [ru], based on The Odessa Tales and the play Sunset. It was shot in 1989 and premiered in 1990. ('Drayman' refers to Mendel Krik, the father of Benya Krik).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tanny, Jarrod (2011). City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia's Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. ch. 3. ISBN 978-0-253-22328-9.
  2. ^ "Benya Krik", National Center for Jewish Film
  3. ^ "Исаак Бабель. Беня Крик (кино-повесть)"
  4. ^ Закат (Бабель) and Russian Wikiquote
  5. ^ Закат, Encyclopedia of National Cinema