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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory