Obituary: Vladimir Ivashov

Vladimir Sergeyevich Ivashov, actor: born Moscow 28 August 1939; died Moscow 23 March 1995.

Vladimir Ivashov received a prize at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival for his remarkable performance in the lead role in Grigory Chukhrai's film Ballad of a Soldier, in which he plays Alesha Skvortosov, a young soldier returning for a brief leave to see his mother during the Second World War. Ivashov was 19 years old and a first-year student at the veteran film director Mikhail Romm's studio at the lite film school VGIK in Moscow when Chukhrai chose him for the part.

Chukhrai scripted it with Valentin Yexhov. Both had been young soldiers at the front and Chukhrai had wanted for a long time to base a film on his experiences. After his first feature film, The Forty First, received a special prize at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival, Chukhrai was in a position to make his film.

Ivashov's performance as Alesha, opposite Xhanna Bolotova, a fellow student at VGIK, playing Shura, with whom he falls in love, was so striking that the film was a sensation in the Soviet Union. When it was released early in 1959 thousands of Muscovites queued to see it at the Udarnik cinema. For the first time, Russians saw a truthful and tragic film about the Second World War without any aggressive nationalistic overtones or the glorification of Stalin and Communism.The film authorities of course meant Chukhrai to make a different film. Even under Brezhnev such a personal representation of the war would not have been allowed.

Ivashov became a star overnight. He received bags of letters from young girls who wanted to meet him. The film was picked by the Cannes Selection Committee as the 1959 official Soviet entry and won a prize. The international reception of the film by critics and the public was ecstatic. Ivashov, Zhanna Bolotova and Chukhrai went on a short tour of South America where the film received several local prizes.

In 1960 the film won the first prize at the Moscow International Film Festival. In 1961 it received the Lenin (formerly Stalin) Prize, recognition from the Soviet leadership, headed by Nikita Khrushchev, who kept a copy of the film at the Kremlin film hall for foreign guests. Ivashov graduated from VGIK in 1963 and was deluged with offers. He appeared in several films including Clouds Over Borsk (1961), The Seven Nurses (1962), An Aunt With Violets (1964): all insignificant comedies and none known in the West.

But he left another memorable performance in the lead role of Pechorin, the film directed by Stanislav Rostotski (1967), based on Mikhail Lermontov's Hero of Our Time, in which he plays an aristocratic Russian officer desired by many high-society women. In 1976 he appeared in two films, Diamonds for Proletarian Dictatorship and When September Comes.

During the Seventies and Eighties Ivashov was virtually forgotten. He never repeated his early success. But Ballad of a Soldier was recently re-released in Moscow and its quality stands out against the hundreds of cheap American films which have now flooded Moscow cinemas.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate Start - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant - Immediate ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders