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“In the Name of Those Who has Gone and Those Who will Come Afterwards”

17.04.2015

40 years ago, the cinemas of our country showed a film screened after the unfinished novel “They Fought for Their Country” by M.A.Sholokhov.

On April, 17, 1975, a premiere of the film took place in the Palace of Culture of Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya. The event was joined by the film crew: S.Bondarchuk, V.Yusov, I.Lazarenko, V.Ovchinnikov, I.Lapikov, V.Tikhonov, Y.Nikulin, G.Burkov, N.Gubenko, A.Rostotsky and N.Shutko.

The film premiere was attended by old and young residents, war veterans, soldiers’ widows.

Before the film show the members of the film crew came on the stage. S.Bondarchuk greeted the audience:

“Dear friends! Dear Mikhail Alexandrovich! The entire team of ours, that is not full here now, was excited with your work, when we set to work on it. And with all of our knowledge and talent we wanted to do our best to make a good film on your work… We tried to read this work by means of cinematography. I am very much excited at the author to see our picture. All the good you’ll find in it you should attribute to the author of the novel, and what you’ll find unsuccessful, attribute to us…”

The film show was followed by discussion.

“The film is good, – the author said in his speech. – The actors’ performance is brilliant. <…> As the author of the book I am the only who is responsible for everything. For the team it is more difficult. <…> To the credit of Bondarchuk, he can rally the like-minded. And now I want to note: Sholokhov without Shukshin, Tikhonov, the film director, composer and other film crew members is nothing. Only the first violin sounds good, but without a cello, a contrabass there is no orchestra. No matter how good the first violin is, it will remain the first violin.

We have a holiday today. Like grain-growers having a Harvest Festival, we have a holiday of Fulfillment. Having worked very hard you are reaping the benefits now. <…> The only thing is important for me: if this film finds sympathy and auspicious response in the hearts of those who fought in the war, we shall consider the matter done. It wouldn’t be quite correct to say this to be a tribute to those who died. Certainly, there is a deal of truth in it. But first of all this is a tribute to those who are alive.”

The film was a great success. Only in 1975 it was seen by over 40 million viewers. According to the readers of the journal “Sovetsky Ekran” in 1976, “They Fought for Their Country” was recognized the best film and V.Shukshin – the best actor of the year. S.Bondarchuk and V.Yusov became the winners of the State Vasilyev Brothers Prize of the RSFSR.

The film gained an international recognition. It was presented in the main program of the Cannes Film Festival, was awarded the prize of the Union of antifascist fighters of Czechoslovakia at the XX International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, the prize for director’s work and for the best performance of the 27 male roles at the XIV Film Festival in Panama.

 

Elena Popova