Iosif Kheifits

6.5 A Big Family (1954)
6.5 The Rumyantsev Case (1955)

Iosif Kheifits (1905) Iosif Kheifits and his college friend Aleksandr Zarkhi collaborated on several films that were emanations of Saint Petersburg's Proletkult movement, of Mikhail Sokolovsky's agit-prop Teatr RAbochey Molodyozhi (Theater of the Workers’ Youth) or TRAM, and of the local Komsomol "brigade", starting with Pesn’ o Metalle/ The Song of Metal (1928) and notably on Veter v Litso/ Wind in the Face (1930), made by the brigade, about the agricultural collectivization. The brigade also created the inferior Polden/ Noon (1931) and Moia Rodina/ My Homeland (1933), never released; and the duo also ventured into more commercial territory with the comedy Goriachie Denechki/ Hectic Days (1935) before making Deputat Baltiki/ Baltic Deputy (1937), based on the life of biologist Kliment Timiriazev, a Soviet role model, and Chlen Pravitelstva/ Member of the Government (1940), about a woman peasant who becomes a politician (starring Vera Maretskaia), an Soviet female role model.

They continued to collaborate on Ego Zovut Sukhe-Bator/ They Call Him Sukhe-Bator (1942), Malakhov Kurgan/ Malakhov Mound (1944), Vo Imia Zhizni/ In the Name of Life (1947), Dragotsennye Zerna/ Precious Grain (1948) and Ogni Baku/ The Lights of Baku (1950, released only in 1958).

Iosif Kheifits later directed alone increasingly commercial films such as: Bolshaya Semya/ A Big Family (1954), adapted from Vsevolod Kochetov's novel "Zhurbiny", Delo Rumjanceva/ The Rumyantsev Case (1955), the films that made Aleksey Batalov a star, Dorogoi Moi Chelovek/ My Dear Man (1958), and Dama s Sobachkoi/ The Lady with a Lapdog (1959), from Chekhov, with a superb soundtrack by Nadezhda Simonyan and photographed by Andrei Moskvin.

In the 1960s he directed Gorizont/ The Horizon (1962), Den Schastia/ A Day of Happiness (1964) and Saliut Mariia/ Bless you Maria (1970).

V Gorode S/ In the Town of S (1967) and Plokhoi Khoroshii Chelovek/ A Bad Good Person (1973) were also Chekhov adaptations.

Then came Edinstvennaia/ The Only One (1975), Asia (1978), adapted from Ivan Turgenev, Vpervye Zamuzhem/ Wife for the First Time (1979) Shurochka (1983), from Aleksand Kuprin, Podsudimyi/ The Accused (1986), Vy Che Stariche? To Whom do you Belong old Folks? (1988) and Brodiachii Avtobus/ The Nomad Bus (1989).

Zarkhi opted instead for more old-fashioned didactic material: Vysota/ The Height (1957), photographed by Vladimir Monakhov and scored by Rodion Shchedrin, Liudi na Mostu/ People on the Bridge (1959) and Moi Mladshii Brat/ My Younger Brother (1962), adapted from Vasilii Aksenov’s novel "Zvezdnyi Bilet/ A Ticket to the Stars". He turned to literature with the adaptations Anna Karenina (1968), from Tolstoy, and Goroda i Gody/ Cities and Years (1973), from Konstantin Fedin, and with the biopic 26 Dnei iz Zhizni Dostoevskogo/ Twenty-six Days from the Life of Dostoevskii (1980), and ended his career with another patriotic movie, Chicherin (1986).

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