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A film-in-film story set in a provincial town in Russia. Pasha (Churikova) is an amateur actress who plays a witch at a local club, but her dream is to play Joan of Arc. In a strike of luck... See full summary »


Gleb Panfilov


Yevgeni Gabrilovich (as Ye. Gabrilovich), Gleb Panfilov (as G. Panfilov)

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Directors: Aleksandr Alov, Vladimir Naumov
Stars: Lyudmila Saveleva, Aleksey Batalov, Mikhail Ulyanov


Cast overview:
Inna Churikova ... Pasha Stroganova / Joan of Arc
Valentina Telichkina ... Valya (as V. Telichkina)
Tatyana Stepanova Tatyana Stepanova ... Katya (as T. Stepanova)
Leonid Kuravlyov ... Arkadiy (as L. Kuravlyov)
Mikhail Kononov ... Pavlik (as M. Kononov)
Nina Skomorokhova Nina Skomorokhova ... Zina (as N. Skomorokhova)
Tatyana Bedova ... Toma (as T. Bedova)
Yuri Klepikov Yuri Klepikov ... Rezhisser (as Yu. Klepikov)
Gennadi Beglov Gennadi Beglov ... Odinokov (as G. Beglov)
Yuriy Vizbor ... Stepan Ivanovich (as Yu. Vizbor)
Vyacheslav Vasilyev Vyacheslav Vasilyev ... Stepan Vitalyevich (as V. Vasilyev)
Evgeniy Lebedev ... Cauchon (as Ye. Lebedev)
Vsevolod Sobolev Vsevolod Sobolev ... Massieu (as V. Sobolev)
Gerasim Zhukovsky Gerasim Zhukovsky ... Boriska (as Gera Zhukovsky)


A film-in-film story set in a provincial town in Russia. Pasha (Churikova) is an amateur actress who plays a witch at a local club, but her dream is to play Joan of Arc. In a strike of luck she is cast as Joan of Arc in a big screen film. Now she is torn between her luck and her love to Arkadi (Kuravlev) who is a married man. Written by Steve Shelokhonov

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...the film that was nominated to open the 1971 New York Film Festival


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »



Soviet Union



Release Date:

12 October 1970 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

The Beginning See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Featured in Women Filmmakers in Russia (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Joan of Arc in Russian Province
27 February 2007 | by G_a_l_i_n_aSee all my reviews

"Nachalo" or "The Beginning" is Gleb Panfilov's masterwork, IMO, and his most popular film with the critics and audiences alike. Its heroine is a young woman, Pasha Stroganova (Inna Churikova in her most powerful double performance as Pasha and Joan), a factory worker in a small provincial town, who dreams of love, and spends her spare time acting in a local drama group. Her best role is "Baba Yaga", an old wicked witch in the stage adaptation of a folk fairy tale. She is discovered by a film director looking for an unknown actress to play Joan of Arc in his next movie and who is very impressed by Pasha's natural talent, temperament, love for acting and her face which is far from pretty but is unusual and fascinating, with its inner fire. I read that Panfilov was dreaming of making "Joan of Arc" with Churikova as the legendary Maid of Orleans after the success of "The Beginning", and I can only guess why it never happened in the former Soviet Union. The scenes of "Joan of Arc" inside "The Beginning" are stunning in every regard, and Churikova's face is reminiscent of the greatest screen Joan ever, Renee Maria Falconetti.

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