Monday, November 20The Voice of London

Legendary Russian director Eldar Ryazanov dies age 88

Tributes are pouring in after Eldar Ryazanov, an icon of Soviet comedy, died early on Monday of heart failure following a long-term disease.

Words: Alina Kay, Subeditor: Lauren Burgess

THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. Ceremony presenting state decorations. Film director Eldar Ryazanov received the Order for Services to the Fatherland II class.
Film director Eldar Ryazanov received the Order for Services to the Fatherland II class.

Over 300,000 Russians live in London, but you will not find even one, young or old, that has not seen Ryazanov’s masterpiece The Irony of Faith. It is so deeply ingrained into Russian culture and it remains the number one film to watch on New Year’s Eve across former Soviet countries.

The director is known for portraying the life of ordinary citizens in a satirical, honest and gentle way. Just like Hitchcock, his trademark was to appear in a small role in every one of his films. Many of the well-known Russian jokes and figurative expressions were fostered thanks to his tragi-comedies. Despite being criticized in the communist USSR, his films often broke box office records, and were always loved by the ordinary Soviet people, as they often challenged the political regime.

Born in Samara in 1927, Ryazanov’s film career lasted for almost six decades, during which he directed close to 30 films. It reached its peak during the 60s and 70s, with pieces like Carnival in Moscow (1965), Office Romance (1977) and Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia (1974). He became one of the People’s Artists of the USSR in 1984 and was awarded the USSR State Prize in 1977.

Ryazanov co-wrote and wrote many of his films, only retiring in 2007 due to health issues.

Earlier today mourners gathered at the Eldar Cinema Club in Moscow to pay tributes to their beloved genius.

President Putin expressed his condolences through the Kremlin website.

Ryazanov’s films will be watched in the homes of Russians for many generations to come, but in case you haven’t seen any of his films, prepare yourself for a Russian romcom treat!

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