Road to Life (1931 film)

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Road to Life (Putyovka v zhizn)
Putyovka v zhizn (1931 film).jpg
Directed by Nikolai Ekk
Written by Nikolai Ekk
Anton Semyonovich Makarenko
Starring Nikolai Batalov
Yvan Kyrlya
Mikhail Dzhagofarov
Music by Yakov Stollyar
Cinematography Vasili Pronin
Release date
30 September 1931 (Germany)
27 January 1932 (USA)
22 February 1932 (Spain)
27 February 1959 (Finland)
8 July 2006 (Japan)
Running time
119 Minutes
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian

Road to Life (Russian: Путёвка в жизнь, translit. Putyovka v zhizn) is a 1931 drama film, directed and written by Nikolai Ekk.[1] The film won an award at the 1932 Venice International Film Festival, which went to Nikolai Ekk for Most Convincing Director.

It was the first sound film in the Soviet Union.


In Moscow operates one of the countless gangs of street kids - Zhigan's gang. Boys who belong to it are the ones who have been living on the street for a long time. In December 1923 police forces conduct a raid, and catch about a thousand homeless children. Almost all of them are distributed to orphanages. But there are several dozens of minors who run away from all orphanages to which they are sent. For example, Mustafa has escaped 8 times and had to be returned 15 times by the authorities. What is one supposed to do with them? This leads to a decision to send them over to a house of correction, that is, a prison for minors.

Sergeev offers another solution: to create a labor commune. The children will work as carpenters, shoemakers, carpenters, remain free citizens, they will feed themselves. But not with theft, instead with work ... Good intentions as always, are good only in theory. In practice, the former street kids do not immediately become honest hard workers ...[2]



  • The film was shot on the territory of the Bolshevksaya labor commune named after Genrikh Yagoda (established in February 1924).[3]
  • Several scenes were filmed on the territory of the Annunciation Monastery in Sarapul.
  • Arrival of street children in the labor commune, as well as scenes of street rebellion, were filmed in the village of Kolomenskoye. The Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye is shown in the film.

Interesting facts[edit]

  • This is the first appearance in film of actors Rina Zelyonaya and Georgiy Zhzhonov.
  • While Genrikh Yagoda served as a comissar, Bolshevskaya commune being dedicated to him brought it certain advantages. After the arrest Genrikh Yagoda in April 1937, the commune was broken and dispersed, Matvei Pogrebinsky shot himself, his books ("Factory of people", edited under Maxim Gorky, and others.) were removed from libraries and destroyed. However, the film, due to its high international acclaim, was not withdrawn from circulation, but all mention of the commune were excised.[3]
  • Old residents of the city of Dzerzhinsk (Lyuberetsky District) believe that the film tells the story of a labor commune located in the area of the Ugresha Monastery. They say that at Lyubertsy Dzerzhinsky on a single-track is a place where Zhigan killed Mustafa.


The film's director Nikolai Ekk was named as the best director by a poll of viewers of the 1st Venice International Film Festival (1932).[4]


  1. ^ Jay Leyda (1960). Kino: A History of the Russian and Soviet Film. George Allen & Unwin. pp. 284–285. 
  2. ^ Jacek Klinowski, Adam Garbicz (2012). Feature Cinema in the 20th Century: Volume One: 1913-1950: a Comprehensive Guide. Planet RGB Limited. ISBN 978-1-624-07564-3. 
  3. ^ a b Хиллиг, Гётц. А. С. Макаренко и Болшевская коммуна // Постметодика, № 2, 2001 «Громадянська освіта в школі»
  4. ^ "The 30s". la Biennale di Venezia. 

External links[edit]

Road to Life at the Internet Movie Database