Soviet filmmaker Alexei German only made three films over a 20-year period, but each constitutes a major contribution to Soviet cinema. Outside of Russia, German's most famous film is Moy Drug Ivan Lapshin/My Friend Ivan Lapshin (1983). The son of author Yuri German, he studied under Grigori Kozintsev at the Leningrad State Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinema. Graduating in 1960, German joined Lenfilm Studios in 1964 and four years later shared directing duties with Grigori Arnov on Sedmoy Sputnik/The Seventh Satellite. German would not make his solo directorial debut, Proverka na Dorogakh/Trial on the Road, until 1971. Based on a story by German's father, it was a gritty World War II drama about a captured German soldier who tries to prove he was originally a Russian captured and forced into serving the Nazis. Shot in black-and-white, the film was banned in the U.S.S.R. for 15 years; however, it was released in Europe where critics hailed German as a major new talent. German's second film, Dvadtsat Dney Bez Voyny/Twenty Days without War, was released to much critical acclaim both in the U.S.S.R. and abroad. As with his first two features, German's third feature, Moy Drug Ivan Lapshin, was plagued with production problems, delays, and censorship. In 1998, German released a fourth film, Khrustalyov, Mashinu!, and it was shown in competition at that year's Cannes Film Festival. When not directing his own films, German has appeared as an actor in those of other filmmakers.