Sergei Yutkevich

Active - 1926 - 1981  |   Born - Dec 28, 1904   |   Died - Apr 23, 1985   |   Genres - Drama, Historical Film, Comedy

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Sergei Yutkevich was one of the Soviet Union's most enduring, versatile, and highly respected directors. He started in the industry as a teen, working in a puppet show. Following studies in painting and set design, Yutkevich, Grigori Kozintsev, and Leonid Trauberg founded the Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEX) in 1921. The Factory was meant to teach actors circus and music hall arts. From there he worked briefly in the theater alongside Sergei Eisenstein. Yutkevich entered films in the mid-'20s, but didn't begin directing until 1928 with Lace, one of Russia's earliest sound films. A longtime lover of American slapstick, his first films were imbued with a playfulness and cheeriness not typical of Russian cinema. Yutkevich strove to make naturalistic films for the working classes. He made films in a variety of genres ranging from historical films to docudramas to biopics. Over his long career Yutkevich won international awards for such films as Skanderbeg (1953) and Othello (1955). His series about Lenin is also highly regarded. Yutkevich held a doctorate in art theory and in addition to filmmaking, he taught from 1938 at the State Film School in Moscow. He wrote a biography of French film comedian Max Linder, a book on film theory, and a book of tips for adapting Shakespeare to film.

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