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Yuri Ozerov Biography

  • Profession: Director, Screenwriter
  • Born: Jan 26, 1921
  • Died: Oct 16, 2001

Russian film director Yuri Ozerov's most famous work was the five-part WWII epic Osvobozhdeniye (The Liberation) that was hugely popular in his native country -- each of the first two parts was seen by 56 million people. A WWII veteran himself, Ozerov entered the Mosfilm Studio in 1949. In 1951 he graduated from V.G.I.K. (All-Union State Film School) where he studied under Igor Savchenko. Though best-known for his war epics and sports documentaries, early in his career he directed movies in different genres: the socially-oriented drama Syn (The Son) (1956), the historical drama Kochubey (1958), and the biopic Bolshaya Doroga (The Great Road), about Czech writer Jaroslav Hasek. Osvobozhdeniye (1967-1971), his biggest success, was notable not only for its impressive battle scenes but also for its attempt to show the war from the perspective of ordinary Russian soldiers. Unfortunately, he followed that with the turgid Soldaty Svobody (The Soldiers of Freedom) (1977) which exaggerated the role of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (who was merely a colonel during the war) and his Eastern European counterparts in the liberation of Europe. The director's subsequent Bitva za Moskvu (The Battle of Moscow) (1985), Stalingrad (1989), and Tragediya Veka (Tragedy of the Century) (1995) -- the latter being a TV miniseries re-edited from his previous war epics -- failed to reach the artistic and human dimension of Osvobozhdeniye. The war remained an important subject for the filmmaker for the rest of his career but both Angely Smerti (The Angels of Death) (1993) and Veliky Polkovodets Marshal Georgy Zhukov (The Great Warlord Georgy Zhukov) (1995) were released to a little acclaim. Besides war epics, Ozerov directed an episode in Visions of Eight, a documentary about the Munich Olympic Games in 1972, and he co-directed O Sport, Ty-Mir (1981), a feature-length account of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980. ~ Yuri German, Rovi


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