The author of “Peculiarities of the National Hunt”, “Checkpoint”, “Cuckoos” and “Streets of Broken Lanterns”, Alexander Rogozhkin, said the main thing that could be said about Russia in the late 90s – early 2000s. Unique irony and perfect sense of style made the whole country speak with aphorisms from his films – without them, Russian cinema can no longer be imagined. Izvestia recalls the main achievements of the director and screenwriter, who passed away at the age of 73 on 24 October.

Naive and rude

It is customary to associate the beginning of a new Russian cinema with three hit tapes – “Brother” by Alexei Balabanov, “Thief” by Pavel Chukhrai and “Peculiarities of the National Hunt” by Alexander Rogozhkin, where he acted as both a director and a screenwriter. It was from under his pen that popularly beloved characters came out, familiar as perennial neighbors in the country: General Ivolgin, driven by Alexei Buldakov, Kuzmich (Viktor Bychkov) and student Raivo, the role that made the popular favorite of the Finnish actor Ville Haapsalo. It seems to be nothing special, and the plot is as old as the world: the peasants are sitting at the hitch, drinking.

However, these post-Soviet “Three in a Boat”, which, in theory, should have been awaited at home, armed with a rolling pin, have opened a new page in Russian cinema. Fronting and heroic, naive and rude, they broke with the total perestroika traumatism of our cinema, when the artists who finally extricated themselves from the censorship bonds decided that now “everything is possible” and began to shoot profound chernukha and sitcoms, most often reduced to a set of dubious anecdotes.

It would seem that there is an anecdote here too. But – different. Wayward, dashing, and sometimes romantic heroes showed what he is – a post-perestroika Russian person: sincere, open and, despite all his extravagances and some disappointment, true to himself, correct in essence. Rogozhkin’s other films became a revelation for the viewer. In particular, the historical war drama “The Cuckoo”, the heroine of which the Sami woman Anni sheltered a Finnish suicide bomber and a Soviet captain sentenced by SMERSH on her farm.

One of the first Russian “cops” series “Streets of Broken Lanterns”, where Rogozhkin acted as a co-director, became eventful and significant. Here, as with “Peculiarities of the National Hunt” and “Fishing”, the characters Larin, Dukalis, Solovets and Kazantsev, nicknamed Casanova, very soon became close and dear. They, like good friends, came into our homes every night, and this was in the mid-90s, when police officers were associated exclusively with bribes and negligence. Actually, the show changed this attitude in many ways.

“The kindest director”

Colleagues remember Alexander Rogozhkin as an original, incredibly talented artist, meaningful and demanding person.

– Alexander Vladimirovich is a great, original director, with his own outlook on life, on art. We all know his films and understand what this is about. Thousands of TV series about cops are being filmed now. But it was Rogozhkin who invented all this, ”Honored Artist of Russia Alexei Nilov said in an interview with Izvestia.

He noted that the third episode of “Streets of Broken Lanterns” filmed in 1995 put the system of serials about the police on the rails, and gave its actors a start in life.

Shot from the series “Streets of Broken Lanterns”

Photo: Russian video

– He believed that it would look, told how to shoot them, and knew that his colleagues would follow in his footsteps, Although we worked in theaters and in cinema, but, starting with “Streets of Broken Lanterns”, our life turned 180 degrees, – added Nilov.

– In my career, it was the kindest director. Alexander Vladimirovich was a very gentle person. He loved people, respected everyone who surrounded him, – said actor and director Ville Haapasalo in an interview with Izvestia.

He also added that Alexander Rogozhkin has shot films that are very significant for Russia.

– This delightful artist and his beautiful paintings will forever remain in our memory. The death of Alekasndr Rogozhkin is a great tragedy for me.

Honored Artist of Russia Zoya Buryak said that Alexander Vladimirovich “invented a lot on the set, but also relied on the improvisation of the actors.”

Alexander Rogozhkin on the set of the film “A Question of Honor”

Photo: Ruskino.ru

– And they sometimes turned the script into a completely different work. I think he could not resist the charm of colleagues, so sometimes he allowed it. And he himself was surprised to find that they had removed what was not written. He collected good acting teams, so it worked great with him. And the pictures turned out to be appropriate, – she recalls.

When you are filming “with a professional, incredibly talented person, you have a special feeling,” Honored Artist of Russia Anastasia Melnikova admits.

– We worked together when his wife Yulia Rumyantseva was still alive. And when they were together, when she watched the footage, in addition to professional qualities, I was completely shocked by their marital relationship. Looking at them, I understood: this is what a real family is. I am a very happy person, because I had the opportunity to act in films with Alexander Rogozhkin and lived with him in the same era, – said Anastasia Melnikova.

The actors also recall that Rogozhkin was very strict and demanding, but this never led to conflicts, since an atmosphere of complete trust reigned on the set.

Alexander Rogozhkin died on October 24 as a result of a long illness unrelated to the coronavirus.

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Alexander Rogozhkin – film director, screenwriter, art critic, artist. People’s Artist of Russia, Honored Worker of Culture, Laureate of the State Prize of the Russian Federation. Was born in 1949 in Leningrad. Graduated from Leningrad State University with a degree in art historian, then from VGIK, workshop of Sergei Gerasimov and Tamara Makarova. His diploma film work was the short film “Redhead, Redhead” filmed at “Lenfilm” in 1981 while still studying at VGIK. Author of the films “Peculiarities of the National Hunt”, “Peculiarities of National Fishing”, “Peculiarities of National Politics”, “Deadly Force”, “Checkpoint”, “Cuckoo”, “Suspiens”, “Own Another’s Life”, “A Question of Honor”, “Aphrodite “, “Weapon”. Director of the series Streets of Broken Lanterns and Destructive Force.

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