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Eldar Aleksandrovich Ryazanov (Russian: Эльдар Александрович Рязанов); b. 18 November 1927 in Kuybyshev, now Samara) is a Soviet/Russian film director whose comedies, satirizing the daily life of the country, are very famous throughout the former Soviet Union.
He was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1984, and received the USSR State Prize in 1977.
Among his most famous films are Carnival Night (1955), Hussar Ballad (1962), Watch out for the Automobile (1966), Irony of Fate (1975), Office Romance (1977), Garage (1979), and A Cruel Romance (1984).
He graduated with honors from the Soviet State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in 1950, as a film director. He was making documentaries for five years. In 1955 Ryazanov came to work at the Mosfilm Studios under the direction of Ivan Pyryev, who produced Ryazanov's first feature film 'Karnavalnaya Noch' (Carnival in Moscow, 1956). It was an instant box office hit starring Lyudmila Gurchenko and Igor Ilyinsky.
Ryazanov's early comedies 'Devushka bez adresa' (1957), 'Gusarskaya ballada' (1962), 'Dayte zhalobnuyu knigu' (1963) were popular in the time of the cultural "Thaw" which was initiated by Nikita Khrushchev. However Ryazanov's film 'Chelovek niotkuda' (1961) was banned by the Soviet censorship, regardless of the fine acting by Sergei Yursky and Anatoli Papanov. 'Beregis avtomobilya' (Watch Out for the Automobile, 1966) is arguably the most popular of Ryazanov's comedies. In that film Ryazanov worked with the stellar cast, including such actors, as Innokenti Smoktunovsky , Oleg Yefremov, Anatoli Papanov, Georgi Zhzhyonov, Yevgeni Yevstigneyev, Andrei Mironov (I), Olga Aroseva, Donatas Banionis, and other Russian film stars. Everything works in that comedy; a witty script, precise direction, sharp cinematography, and an outstanding ensemble of actors. The music score for the film was written by the brilliant composer Andrei Petrov.
Ryazanov created his own style of lyrical comedy with a soft satire on the Soviet life. His 'Zigzag udachi', with Evgeni Leonov in the leading role, was a nice fairy tale for the Soviet people. 'Stariki-razboyniki', starring Yuri Nikulin, Evgeni Evstigneev, and Andrei Mironov was a crime-parody. His extremely popular TV-movie 'Ironiya sidby, ili S lyogkim parom!' (Irony of Fate, 1975 TV) was a big hit of the 70's and later turned into a nostalgic cult. It is shown every New Year's Eve as a tradition in the former Soviet Union. The film is still viewed word-wide as a humorous depiction of life in the 1970's Soviet Union. Actors Andrei Miagkov, Yuri Yakovlev, Barbara Brylska, and Aleksandr Shirvindt are working together as one acting ensemble. Two years later Ryazanov directed another hit, 'Sluzhebny roman' (1977), where Andrei Myagkov made a nice duet with 'Alisa Freindlikh'.
Eldar Ryazanov wrote and directed 'Garazh' (1979), a powerful satire on the stagnation and loss of civility in the Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev. Ryazanov delivers a dazzling array of Soviet characters and situations in this film, ranging from funny, bitter, and sarcastic, to greedy, manipulative, and scary stupid. The film reveals incurable problems under the mask of "equality" and "socialism", showing a clash of socially divided classes of Soviet people. In somewhat a departure from comedy, Ryazanov brings the theme of "Gulag" prison-camp in 'Vokzal dlya dvoikh' (1982). Still the film is full of Ryazanov's warm humor and also benefits from the performances of Lyudmila Gurchenko and Oleg Basilashvili. 'Ruthless Romance' (1984) is the Ryazanov's adaptation of the 19th century story by 'Aleksandr Ostrovsky'. The film is set on the Volga river and has a stellar cast. His latest film is Andersen. Zhizn bez lyubvi (2006).
Living in the Soviet Union and in the 90's Russia could not be possible without humor. Eldar Ryasanov made a few more comedies as writer-director. He received numerous awards at the Soviet, Russian and International Film Festivals. He was designated People's Artist of the USSR.
Eldar Ryazanov is living in Moscow.
In all the movies he directed he plays a small part (like Alfred Hitchcock). Often this part lasts just a couple of seconds long, but it has to be there.
Steve Shelokhonov - IMDb
Official Homepage: eldar-ryazanov.ru
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