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News

Pioneer of Russian Cinematograph is a Don Cossack

29.05.2016

A bright page of “Children’s Sholokhov Spring” dedicated to the Year of Russian Cinema was a cinema lecture held on May 28, in the Excursion and Exhibition Centre “People’s House”. The lecture about Alexander Khanzhonkov, a businessman, cinematographer, the author of a number of the first Russian films, was given by Tatyana Omelchenko, a film producer, screenwriter, a member of the Ukrainian National Union of Journalists, director of the Donetsk Cultural Centre (the Donetsk People’s Republic).

Tatyana Nikolayevna is a member of the International Association for Culture, a participant in a number of major creative projects. She came to the holiday “Sholokhov Spring” on the invitation of A.M.Sholokhov, Director of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov.

T.N.Omelchenko told lots of interesting things about the life and work of the Don Cossack, who became a pioneer of Russian cinematography. The lecture “Khanzhonkov from Khanzhonkovo” was accompanied by fragments from documentaries about this talented man and the films, where he was a screenwriter and film director.

Alexander Alexeyevich Khanzhonkov was born in 1877, in the Don Army Region to the family of a centurion, a landowner of noble origin. In 1896, he graduated from the Novocherkassk Cossack Junker School and was admitted to the privileged Don 1st Cossack regiment with the rank of sub ensign. In 1905, he retired for health reasons with the rank of officer and received a payment of 5 thousand rubles attributable in such cases according to the law. In 1906, for all his savings he opened the first Russian enterprise for rent and sale of foreign films, and from 1907, he started producing feature films and newsreels.

The films were a great success and the name of Khanzhonkov became well-known in Russia and abroad. In 1911, the first Russian full-length film “Defence of Sevastopol” was issued, and in 1912, the company released the world first cartoon made in the volumetric animation technique.

The company of Khanzhonkov became the undisputed leader of the Russian filmmaking, published a magazine to cover the issues of cinema, culture, theatrical life, music and literature.

The life of Khanzhonkov was not easy. In 1920 he emigrated, then returned to his country on the invitation of “Rusfilm” and worked in the field of

cinematography. In 1926, he was arrested on charges of financial abuse and was rehabilitated only in 1934. The pioneer of Russian cinematography died in 1945. His name was forgotten for long years, and now, fortunately, it is coming out of the shadow of oblivion.

Recently, a book “The Life Given to Cinematograph” was published. Its author is Irina Orlova, a granddaughter of A.A.Khanzhonkov. T.N.Omelchenko presented a copy of this book to the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov.

The lecture produced a bright impression on the audience of young and old.

 

Tatyana Balak