Mark Donskoy was among Russia's great filmmakers and remains the foremost interpreter of writer Gorky's work. He is best remembered for his "Gorky Trilogy" of the 1930s. Together, these three films created an unequaled, intimate portrait of one of Russia's most famous authors. Unlike other films of the era, Donskoy's focused more on realistic yet compassionate portrayals of human foibles and detailed accounts of the Russian peoples' daily lives, while generally avoiding communist propaganda; in fact Donskoy was not even a member of the Communist Party. Born in Odessa, he was a member of the Red army from the beginning of the October Revolution through 1920. During that time he was captured by the White Russians and held prisoner. Following his release, Donskoy studied psychiatry and brain physiology at a Crimean medical school but eventually dropped out to attend law school and became a lawyer. Following graduation, he became a prosecutor for the Ukrainian police and wrote many articles about justice. In 1925, Donskoy's interests changed. He began writing novels, plays and a screenplay which he took to Moscow. Once there he began studying film and working as an assistant editor under Sergei Eisenstein at the State Film Institute. By 1928 he had become a director of feature films. Much of the detail in the Gorky Trilogy came from his close friendship with the great author.