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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

From Classics to the Subculture

In his films, director Sergei Solovyov focuses on two ends of the cultural spectrum -- the great Russian classics of the past and the restless innovations of today's youth.


His works include screen adaptations of Anton Chekhov's humorous short stories "Just For Fun" and "The Proposal" for a 1970 film, "Family Happiness," as well as faithful adaptations of Alexander Pushkin's sentimental novel "The Station Master" (1972), and Maxim Gorky's play "Yegor Bulychev and Others" (1973).


Solovyov's "teenage" trilogy established new themes that became a constant feature of his films: the world of adolescents, with all the uncertainty of a time of transition, and youth's troubled relationships with restrained and self-centered adults.


The teenagers from "A Hundred Days After Childhood" (1975) and "The Life Guard" (1980) are constantly imagining themselves as noble characters of 19th-century classics, and in "The Heir Apparent" (1982) a young girl proclaims herself an heir to the poet Pushkin.


Solovyov's recent carnival-like post-perestroika triptych explored the in-your-face, colorful island of underground teenage subculture, inhabited by rebellious rock stars like Victor Tsoi or B.G. (Boris Grebenshchikov), who were largely suppressed by the black-and-white world of obedient parents during the colorless years of stagnation.


The rotund, energetic filmmaker, who has achieved international acclaim, resolutely sided with the rebels and became a ubiquitous presence at topsy-turvy underground performances, happenings and rock concerts. He captured it all on film in post-modernist "Assa," a 1988 tongue-in-cheek portrayal of a love triangle pitting a shadow economy godfather against a vulnerable bohemian artist.


Underground musicians wrote scores for "White Rose -- an Emblem of Sorrow" (1990) and "A House Under a Starry Sky (1991). Sergei Kuryokhin, a St. Petersburg avant-garde composer, wrote music for "The Three Sisters," Solovyov's new film, which stars the director's students from the National Film School's Acting Workshop.