Academician of The Russian Academy of Arts. Born on August 26, 1925 in Bobtinets.
Soviet and Russian Film Director, Cameraman, Screenwriter, Actor, Composer. People’s Artist of the RSFSR, Honored Art Worker of the Ukrainian SSR. The All-Union Film Festival Second Prize for the Camera Work Winner, the Venice Film Festival Debut Prize Winner, Nika Best Film Award Winner, Kinotavr Grand Prix Laureate, Kinoshock Director’s Prize Laureate, Golden Ram Prize Laureate. Companion of the Order of Merit for the Fatherland (2nd, 3rd and 4th class), three Orders of the Patriotic War.
In the trenches of World War II he promised himself to become a war cameraman, Pyotr Todorovsky could do it in 1949 by joining the Boris Volchek workshop attheGerasimov Institute of Cinematography Then there were ten years of work at the Odessa Film Studio and a brilliant masterpiece Spring at Zarechnaya Street. But the work of a cameraman couldn’t fulfill his creativity. War couldn’t let Pyotr Todorovsky go. He met it again as a director. In memory of his friend Yuri Nikitin, who was killed by a sniper, he created his first film called Loyalty, a prize winner at the Venice Film Festival.
«The very first movie is similar to the very first battle. There is no fear, you just go forward as a calf, -Mr. Todorovsky recalled. — To be honest all my films after that were started from a scratch. And I was scared
as a student before an exam.» For PyotrTodorovsky human relations in inhuman conditions were always the most important part. Especially if it was a story of love. «I saw my movies in real life, — he said. — And Wartime Romance is just a bit of war. There was love on the front. There was love.»
And the songs are always where love is. Music plays its own part in Pyotr’s life. Being a commandant of a little town near Elbe he often played his accordion in the morning sitting on the doorstep. But his best friend is still his guitar. Together they appeared in Marlen Khutsiyev’s It was in May. And don’t forget about his soundtracks to his own films Through Main Street with an Orchestra and Encore Once More Encore! Some critic noticed that Pyotr Todorovsky had become a director in order to compose music for his own movies. «Music is the main part of my personality, — the Director recalls. — I tried to write the Wartime Romance screenplay but stopped and couldn’t continue. Two months passed and I didn’t know what to do. But once I took my guitar, started playing and suddenly understood what it should be like. So I returned to my screenplay and finished it at once.»
According to the legend a Phrygian king Midas could turn everything into gold. But it was dead and cold gold. Todorovsky has other talents. He can turn those who work with him into people of gold. Thus actresses playing main characters in his films — Inna Churikova, Natalia Andreychenko (Wartime Romance). Lyudmila Gurchenko (The Mechanic Gavrilov’s Beloved Woman) and Elena Yakovleva (Intergirl) — received awards for best female performance at various international film festivals in Berlin, Madrid, Manila and Tokyo. The secret of such success was revealed by the USSR State Committee for Cinematography of the USSR President Armen Medvedev. When angry TV-viewers attacked him with questions asking how the Goskino could allow a movie about a prostitute, Medvedev replied the following: «Don’t worry The director is Todorovsky. It doesn’t matter what this film is about. He will make a love story of anything».
Mr. Todorovsky says a lot about love recalling Odessa. It’s his native land. Here he first met his wife Mira that would later become a general producer of the Mirabelle Studio, the home for many Todorovsky’s movies. They lived in the Odessa Film Studio hostel behind the doors that were always open. Here they welcomed Vladimir Vysotsky when he worked with Gennady Poloki on his film called Intervention. By warm summer nights they sat by an opened window and listened to the famous bard’s singing.
Vatutinki near Moscow became Todorovsky’s second motherland. His old friend Zinovy Gerdt invited him here. «Big parties were there, — Pyotr Todorovsky says. — We celebrated many dates and the Victory day was the first one. We, the veterans, always raised our glass for the Victory. And then the time of birthdays came. On the ninth of May Zinovy Gerdt’s wife and our son Valery were born. Later we welcomed another «newborn» Bulat Okudzhava. Zinovy Gerdt was in the center of our circle of friendship. He and Tatyana were always so sweet to their guest. It was very interesting to chat and clown with Gerdt. And he knew a lot of rhymes. You could wake up him in the middle of the night and call any poem and he would definitely read it. Later Sergei Nikitin also entered our circle and we sometimes played as guitar duo. Just for ourselves.»
The Todorovskys’ son treads his father’s steps. Though, they make very different movies. There are some films of Todorovsky Jr. that Todorovsky Sr. likes a lot. And there are some not so good. «Yet Valery uses the same human material, — Pyotr notices. — People, their fates, their problems and thoughts look very interesting for him. And that makes me glad.»
Today Pyotr Todorovsky is still steeped in his work. The set is the source of his second breath. And there is no such thing as difficulties for him: «Never complain of your life. It’s the worst thing that you can do.»