Chinese movie lovers mourn loss of Russian director Vladimir Menshov
Published: Jul 06, 2021 08:05 PM
Russian director Vladimir Menshov Photo: VCG

Russian director Vladimir Menshov Photo: VCG

Russian director Vladimir Menshov passed away on Monday from COVID-19. At the age of 82, this Oscar-winning director leaves behind a film legacy that used a distinctive lens to explore the country's everyman stories such as in his representative work Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, a favorite in China. 

Born in the early 1970s, Menshov played versatile roles during his career in film, including film director, actor and screenwriter. "Director," more specifically, the "Director of Russia," was Menshov's most well-known title as he helmed a number of pictures that particularly focused on ordinary people and working-class groups such as rural farmers, women workers and miners. 

Highlights of the director's career include his first romantic drama Practical Joke (1976), comedy Love and Pigeons (1984) and his 1980 film Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears, which made him an international name among moviegoers.  

A romance film, Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1981. The film tells the story of three girls in Moscow seeking to change their lives while also reflecting the social climate and changes that began taking place in Russian society in the late 1970's that led younger Russians to flock to the capital.  

Despite cultural and generational differences, Menshov's realistic depiction of mundane life continues to move Chinese movie lovers, many of whom took to social media to express their grief over the death of the "down-to-earth master." 

"Though his approach to film was "too classic" compared to the fast food films we watch today - I mean he made slow-paced films that were not dramatic - but there are certain techniques of his, like his cinematography in the opening scenes of his films that I like… His distinctive film aesthetic is what warms me and makes me remember him," Raff Zhang, a filmmaker, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"Life begins after 40… This is the part I remember most from his Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears. This saying has always encouraged me to believe in what I do and what I can do… It is simple and strong, just like the earthy and stable feeling you get from watching his film," Zhen, a Chinese film lover, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

In 1989, Menshov was awarded the People's Artist of Russia. 

No funeral plans have been announced yet, according to Russian news agency TASS on Monday.