Olga Preobrazhenskaya (director)

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Olga Preobrazhenskaya
Born(1881-07-24)24 July 1881
Died30 October 1971(1971-10-30) (aged 90)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Occupation(s)Film director
Years active1913–1961

Olga Ivanovna Preobrazhenskaya (Russian: Ольга Ивановна Преображенская, 24 July 1881 – 30 October 1971) was a Russian actress[1] and film director,[2] one of the first female film directors, and the first female film director in Russia.[3][4][5]

She is best known for directing the films Women of Ryazan (1927) [6] and And Quiet Flows the Don (1930).[7][8]


Olga Ivanovna Preobrazhenskaya was born on 24 July 1881, in Moscow. From 1901 to 1904, she studied in the actor school of Moscow Art Theater. From 1905, she worked in theaters in Poltava, Tbilisi, Riga, Odessa, Voronezh and Moscow.[9]

In 1913, she debuted as film actress in The Keys to Happiness, directed by Vladimir Gardin and Yakov Protazanov, and she starred in several popular adaptations of Russian classics, such as War and Peace and On the Eve (both 1915). Preobrazhenskaya was one of the founders of the actor school of the VGIK, where she taught from 1918 to 1925.[2][9]

In 1916 Preobrazhenskaya directed Miss Peasant — it was her directorial debut.[4][10] When it was released it received praise, but since it was the debut film of a woman director, it was treated with distrust, and on the posters and reviews her name was often written with a male ending or attributed to other directors.[11]

After graduating from the Moscow Art Theater School in 1923 she worked as a director at the Goskino film studio (now Mosfilm), was the second director on the films Locksmith and Chancellor (1923). Starting in 1927, she collaborated with film director Ivan Pravov, with whom she made several films together. Their most well-known films were Women of Ryazan (1927) and And Quiet Flows the Don (1930)[2]


As Actress
Year Title Role Notes
1924 Locksmith and Chancellor

(Слесарь и канцлер)

1923 The Landowner (Помещик)
1919 The Iron Heel (Железная пята)
1916 Whose Guilt? (Чья вина?)
1916 Deep Pool (Омут)
1916 The Great Passion

(Великая страсть)

1915 Privalov's Millions

(Приваловские миллионы)

1915 Plebeian (Плебей)
1915 Peterburg Slums

(Петербургские трущобы)

1915 On the Eve (Накануне)
1915 The Garnet Bracelet

(Гранатовый браслет)

1915 War and Peace (Война и мир)
1914 Mask of Death (Маска смерти)
1914 A Nest of Gentlefolk

(Дворянское гнездо)

1914 Dionysus' Anger

(Гнев Диониса)

1913 The Keys to Happiness

(Ключи счастья)

As Director
Year Title Role Notes
1941 Lad from Taiga (Парень из тайги) Director co-directed with Ivan Pravov
1939 Stepan Razin (Степан Разин) Director co-directed with Ivan Pravov [13][14]
1935 Paths of Enemies (Вражьи тропы) Director co-directed with Ivan Pravov [15]
1930 And Quiet Flows the Don (Тихий Дон) Director co-directed with Ivan Pravov [8][16]
1929 The Last Attraction (Последний аттракцион) Director co-directed with Ivan Pravov [17]
1928 A Town Full of Light (Светлый город) Director co-directed with Ivan Pravov
1927 Women of Ryazan (Бабы рязанские) Director [18][19]
1927 Anne (Аня) Director
1926 Kashtanka


1925 Fedka's truth

(Федькина правда)

1923 The Landowner


1918 Tale of Priest Pankrat

(Сказка о попе Панкрате)

1917 Victoria (Виктория) Director
1916 Miss Peasant

(Барышня - крестьянка)

Director co-directed with Vladimir Gardin[4][19]


  1. ^ Voront͡sov, I͡Uriĭ; Rachuk, Igorʹ Antonovich (1980). The Phenomenon of the Soviet Cinema. Progress Publishers. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-7147-1613-8.
  2. ^ a b c Peter Rollberg (2009). Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema. US: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 542–544. ISBN 978-0-8108-6072-8.
  3. ^ Smith, Sharon (1975). Women who Make Movies. Hopkinson and Blake. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-911974-09-6.
  4. ^ a b c Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey; Jacobs, Katrien; Unterburger, Amy L. (1998). Women Filmmakers & Their Films. St. James Press. pp. IX, 338. ISBN 978-1-55862-357-6.
  5. ^ Hysteria. Hysteria Magazine Collective. 1982. p. 18.
  6. ^ Ferro, Marc (1988). Cinema and History. Wayne State University Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-8143-1905-5.
  7. ^ Jay Leyda (1960). Kino: A History of the Russian and Soviet Film. George Allen & Unwin. p. 231.
  8. ^ a b "A Soviet Silent Film". The New York Times. 19 March 1932. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  9. ^ a b "Ольга Преображенская". Encyclopedia of Native Cinema. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  10. ^ Horton, Andrew; Brashinsky, Michael (9 March 2021). The Zero Hour: Glasnost and Soviet Cinema in Transition. Princeton University Press. pp. 103, 258. ISBN 978-0-691-22786-3.
  11. ^ Yulia Shamporova (20 August 2021). "Человек с киноаппаратом: 5 женщин-режиссеров, стоявших у истоков кинематографа" [5 women directors who stood at the dawn of cinematography]. Forbes.
  12. ^ a b Leyda, Jay (1973). Kino, a History of the Russian and Soviet Film. Collier Books. pp. 419, 428.
  13. ^ Liehm, Mira; Liehm, Antonín J. (1 January 1980). The Most Important Art: Soviet and Eastern European Film After 1945. University of California Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-520-04128-8.
  14. ^ Dobrenko, Evgeny (5 March 2008). Stalinist Cinema and the Production of History: Museum of the Revolution. Edinburgh University Press. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-7486-3243-5.
  15. ^ Motion Picture Review Digest. H.W. Wilson Company. 1936. p. 67.
  16. ^ Kozlov, Vladimir (1 August 2013). "Russian Culture Ministry to Finance TV Series Based on Classic Novel". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  17. ^ Vitale, Serena (18 December 2012). Shklovsky: Witness to an Era. Deep Vellum Publishing. ISBN 978-1-56478-824-5.
  18. ^ Stites, Richard; Stites, Formerly Professor of History and International Affairs Richard (20 August 1992). Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society Since 1900. Cambridge University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-521-36986-2.
  19. ^ a b Olsen, Kirstin (1994). Chronology of Women's History. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 200, 224. ISBN 978-0-313-28803-6.

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