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A.M.Sholokhov:”Her Passing Away is a Shock for All of Us”

30.04.2019

A farewell to the theatre and cinema actress Elina Bystritskaya, the USSR People’s Actress, will take place today in the Maly Theatre. She will be buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery. Alexander Sholokhov, the First Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Culture of the RF State Duma, the writer’s grandson, had a talk with Olga Gopalo, a correspondent for the “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, about his memory of Bystritskaya and answered her questions.

– I met with Elina Avraamovna several times. I knew her very well and always admired her as a woman, as a person, because, I think, such a model of dignity is difficult to find nowadays, especially in the actors’ environment. She never fell below the level originally taken by her in the theatre and in cinema. She never allowed herself to take any fake note and had always been a model of dignity – human and female. And, of course, she was one of the first beauties of the Soviet Union – a woman who was admired by several generations.

– What do you remember of her most of all?

– Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind is her talk with my grandfather, when she, quite a girl, began her cinema career and was preparing to act the role of Aksinya in the film “The Quiet Don”. She always asked him naively and always laughingly recalled this episode. Thus, talking with my grandfather she asked with a sinking heart: “Mikhail Alexandrovich, please, show this Aksinya for me to know how she looks like and how I should act her”. He laughed in answer and said: “Little silly, I have invented it all!” Such was a naive and touching conversation. To a large extent it shows her very self and her attitude to life. I mean, from the very beginning she was very serious about this profession, this wonderful art, and she wanted to reach the absolute conformity of the images she performed. 

– I saw her last five or six years ago. We met to decide about her possible participation within the frames of the work of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov in Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya. Unfortunately, we failed then. Though, of course, she visited the Don country, but not frequently. More often we met with the actresses Z.Kiriyenko and L.Khityayeva. Several times we tried to organize solo programs of Bystritskaya and her participation in our great festivals. But she had a busy schedule, and because of her employment in the theatre performances she could not come. 

– Did you recall Aksinya in the talks with Bystritskaya?

– This was a central subject. Everything went around it. For most of us she has remained that Aksinya for life. Elina Avraamovna always recalled this role and her work with particular warmth. She recalled the details of the fellow actors’ training in the Cossack life style and dialect by getting deeply into Cossack life in Dichensky Village of the Kamensk District on the River Seversky Donets, where the film crew was brought by Sergey Gerasimov (the film director) to stay for half a year. Many different episodes happened there. And she always, sometimes laughing, sometimes sadly, told about them.

One of them was her training in carrying water in buckets on the yoke with an old Cossack woman instructing her for a long time. It is clear that Bystritskaya was a city girl not very trained physically, and an image of a Cossack woman, who must be sturdy, was rather difficult for her to perform at first. And an old Cossack woman had been training her long showing how to keep her back right, and finally she said: “You must carry water in the way for Grishka to fall in love with you!” That was defining: the problem was not only to carry buckets splashing no water. Here it was necessary to do it so gracefully to show her female beauty at the same time.

Undoubtedly, her passing away is a shock for all of us. It is absolutely obvious, that this was a person who symbolized the era, a huge stratum of Russian Soviet cinema, art and culture. She was a sign person, a definite symbol. And, of course, passing away of such a symbol is bereavement for the country and first of all for the people who loved and knew her.

It is distressing, that lately we have lost such pillars as Govorukhin, Kobzon, Bystritskaya. It is very hard, but this generation is passing away.

 

Source: KP.RU