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Andrey Zvyagintsev Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (9) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 6 February 1964Novosibirsk, Novosibirskaya oblast, RSFSR, USSR [now Russia]
Birth NameAndrey Petrovich Zvyagintsev

Mini Bio (1)

Andrei Zvyagintsev is a Russian filmmaker and was born on Feb.6, 1964 in the northern city of Novisibirsk. He graduated from the Novosibirsk Actors School in 1984 and started to act on stage in provincial theatres. In the early 1990s he came to Moscow - the centre of the Russian film industry - with the ambition to star in movies. Moscow was not welcoming to a newcomer in film acting. As Znyagintsev put it later: "I was hungry, in need of work, I auditioned for everything. I even did not have money to buy a bus ticket." From 1992 to 2000 he appeared as 'extra' in numerous TV series' and feature films but with no positive experiences. Suddenly a friend offered him a job as director at REN TV, an independent production company that makes cop shows and day-time soaps. Zvyagintsev directed several episodes for a popular TV series and impressing producers with his skills. He got the offer to direct the feature length film The Return (2003) - a low-budget family drama that turned out to become a major success and an international critical triumph. The film won the Golden Lion at the 'Venice International Film Festival' in 2003. When Zvyagintsev returned to Moscow, he was given a hero's welcome, because it was the first Russian film since Close to Eden (1991) to win this honour. Since this early international success Andrei Zvyagintsev has continued to write and direct short films and the award-winning feature films The Banishment (2007), Elena (2011) and Leviathan (2014), shooting in exotic locations in Russia, Moldova, France, Belgium and the USA. Especially the controversial "Leviathan (2014)" became an international sensation: Zvyangintsev won the 'Best Screenplay' award at the 'Cannes International Film Festival' 2014, the 'Golden Globe' for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' and was nominated for an Academy Award for 'Best Foreign Language Film' in 2015. With only 4 feature films to date Andrei Zvyagintsev has already become one of the most respected directors in Russian and international cinema.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Mike (hfhfdfse@rol.ru)

Trivia (9)

His second feature The Banishment (2007) (The Banishment) premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and surprisingly won the Best Leading Actor Award for Konstantin Lavronenko who previously starred in The Return (2003) (The Return). Lavronenko became the first Russian actor ever to win this honour.
Some of his favorite films are L'Avventura (1960), L'Eclisse (1962), La Notte (1961), Last Tango in Paris (1972), A Man Escaped (1956), Diary of a Country Priest (1951), Wild Strawberries (1957), Autumn Sonata (1978), Andrei Rublev (1966), The Mirror (1975), Ordet (1955), L'enfant (2005), Husbands (1970), The Lovers (1958), Woman in the Dunes (1964), Trial on the Road (1971), Falling Leaves (1966), Seven Samurai (1954), My Night at Maud's (1969), Breaking the Waves (1996), The White Ribbon (2009), Koyaanisqatsi (1982), Alice in the Cities (1974), and Bicycle Thieves (1948).
Served in the Russian Army in 1984 through 1986.
Studied acting at The Russian University of Theatre Arts (GITIS) from 1986 to 1990.
Was a street janitor after graduating GITIS for 3 years.
Some of his favorite filmmakers are Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Michelangelo Antonioni, Andrei Tarkovsky, Otar Iosseliani, Aleksey German, Marlen Khutsiev. Antonioni had the most profound influence on him: He said that seeing Antonioni's L'Avventura (1960) gave him a 'new life' and he wanted to become a filmmaker.
Lists Sergey Loznitsa, Aleksey Mizgirev, Aleksey Fedorchenko, and Vasiliy Sigarev as some of his favorite contemporary Russian filmmakers.
As a trained actor, he found difficulty in getting acting jobs. Between the years 1990 and 2000 he said he had only acted in two stage plays and a plethora of episodic bit parts in various TV shows. Zvyagintsev stated that whatever acting aspirations that came to fruition during this time turned out to be very uninteresting and entirely "empty" in terms of personal fulfillment. Around the years 1993-1994 is when he first turned to directing TV commercials which he shot on 35mm. It was during this time where he heard the sound of film running through the camera for the first time before even knowing such filmmaking terms as; "Roll Camera! Action!". At 36 years old, which was a critical moment in his life he had a realization that for almost 10 years he was going nowhere in life. It was at this point when he had decided to make a film.
Considers Fyodor Dostoevsky to be a very important figure in his life. He stated that he was in love with Dostoevsky's works, reading only this author for many years.

Personal Quotes (3)

As an art-house director I am supposed to hate mainstream films but I saw Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005) and liked it. I even cried when I was watching it although in my opinion this film has no artistic value at all.
There is nothing more magnificent than to make art. My experience tells me so. Nothing. It's the most magnificent thing in the world.
[on the criticism that 'positive protagonists' are missing in Leviathan (2014)] And what is actually bad about Nikolai? To whom has he done evil? With whom was he not honest? What is a 'positive' in this case? He's just a man. Like all the other characters; just humans. All this without the presumption of 'positivity' [in the moral makeup of the character]. Why do we need this, how should I say, 'forefinger' for where to look? Who to emulate? It is an infantile attitude to art. You have to look at the panorama of life without embellishment, without hyperbole; just the way it is and draw your own conclusions.

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