He studied at the Ural Polytechnic University (later Boris Yeltsin Federal University), where he took his first steps in film directing at an amateur film studio – first documentary: shot “Komsomol” films such as “People’s Militia”, ” Get in Our Line”. Then, at the Sverdlovsk television studio, he directed his first half-hour feature film “The Case of Kurt Clausewitz” from the times of the Great Patriotic War, where he first filmed the actor of the Sverdlovsk Drama Theater Anatoly Solonitsyn , like a captured German. – It was there that Andrei Tarkovsky saw the young artist and took on the role of Rublev.
Gleb Panfilov was stubborn and persistent, but not arrogant, even then he showed traits of a perfectionist. He revised, rewrote and polished his script “There is no ford in the fire” dozens of times, in the end he took it to Moscow and turned to our greatest playwright Yevgeny Gabrilovich, so that he would not only give his blessing, but also help to remember the idea. Two names appear in the credits of the film: Gabrilovich and Panfilov. Then I was looking for an actress for the main role for a long time. And when he found Inna Churikova, he also found her ideal. The resulting creative union was preserved for life, turned into a family union, and Churikova, from a performer of minor roles in Tyuz, turned into a great actress, a star of theater and cinema, one of the unique figures of our art.
In directing, he always worked very carefully, confidently and accurately, and already from the first big film it became clear to what scale the artist reached. The second picture, “The Beginning”, was, in fact, an application for a film about Joan of Arc: the heroine of the film, a factory girl (as the script was originally called), dreamed of becoming an actress and played disinterestedly. Baba Yaga in amateur performances. An ambitious young film director saw her on stage and began to attempt the role of a French national icon. Extended scenes from his “movie” already demonstrated what kind of Joan of Arc Churikova could become, and it took Panfilov a long time to figure out the script for her; they did not give a picture for filming: why does the Soviet public need some kind of French? !
But “The Beginning” for both Panfilov and Churikova became their prime: the lyrical comedy film became one of the most beloved among the audience, Churikov immediately became popular, Panfilov firmly entered the number of leading hopes of our cinema.
Success was ensured by the next film “I ask for words.” Panfilov has long been interested in the phenomenon of the Soviet woman, the heiress of the Nekrasov woman, who “stops a galloping horse.” The new heroine Churikova is the president of the executive committee of a small town, a businesswoman in the Soviet style. The impetus for the creation of the image was an incident that surprised Panfilov: a high-ranking official lost his daughter, but the next morning she was already at his workplace. Elizaveta Uvarova from the movie trains sight at the shooting range and stamina in her husband, her subordinates and her superiors. She dreams of making the city happy by building a new bridge and is trying to get the project approved by top management. She is obsessed with state concerns just like her predecessor, “a simple Russian woman, beaten by her husband” from the related film “Member of the Government”: the heroine Churikova seemed to continue the character of the heroine Maretskaya in the modernity. times and under the conditions of “developed socialism”.
Panfilov already demonstrated here his ability to walk the razor’s edge with such confidence, as if he were walking a bright path to a communist tomorrow. There was a breath of life in the film, but the author’s ironic look invited the viewer to get away from the usual everyday life, to see it again, to believe it with normal human logic, and “the mass of plans” could not stand Such an examination seemed petty. It would be funny if we didn’t live inside such an anthill, where everything is regulated once and for all and all dreams are limited to a bridge that will never be built.
Panfilov wrote the script for the next film “Theme” in collaboration with the young playwright Alexander Chervinsky. Mikhail Ulyanov, in the role of a venerable writer, again a purely Soviet model, who wrote very correct and therefore well-published novels all his life, went to the province to “study life.” And there he encountered phenomena that he could not understand at all. For the first time in our cinema, words like dissidents, like emigration, sounded. For the first time, discontent with some serious human flaws of the Soviet system resulted in a tragic decision to leave the homeland and start life from scratch. It was Panfilov’s most difficult film, his new rise as an artist and a thinker.
In search of answers to the questions that tormented him, he turned to literature: Alexander Vampilov (“Valentina”), Maxim Gorky (“Vassa”, “Mother”). The film “Mother” was not lucky – it was released in the crucial years of perestroika and the collapse of the USSR for the country, when the audience was no longer in the mood for watching movies. Very few people saw the film, and Panfilov enthusiastically accepted my proposal not only to head the newborn Uralkinofest as president, but also to organize the second premiere of his “Mother” there: the public reception was fantastic, in his city. In his youth, the master finally received a worthy cinematographic response.
He was disturbed by many things from the impressions of that already distant young man. For example, he recounted how he ran with friends to the infamous Ipatiev house on People’s Revenge Square, where the last Russian emperor and his family were shot. As if in the black openings of the windows he seemed to see the shadows of the dead. These memories served as the impetus for the creation of the film “The Romanovs: A Crowned Family” – a large-scale epic film that showed the tragedy not of a ruler, but of a person. As time passed, a certain idealization of Nicholas II became apparent, but in the year of its release the film crushed with the power of sincere sympathy a cyclopean image of the deadly struggle between light and darkness, civilization and the savagery that advances.
In the “new Russia” Panfilov became interested in the theater. He made a film based on the famous play by Ostrovsky “Guilty without guilt”, staged performances with Inna Churikova “Hamlet”, “The Lioness of Aquitaine”, “Audience” at the Theater of Nations in Lenkom, where Churikova brilliantly played the Queen. of Great Britain Elizabeth II.
Panfilov and Churikova have been inseparable for many decades. His love was ardent and strong, he cultivated her talent with love, discovering for himself and for us all its new facets. It was an example of fidelity with a capital letter, when without the other there is no creativity or life itself.
This is probably why he survived his beloved woman and brilliant actress for only seven months …
PS For me personally, the departure of Gleb Panfilov is the loss of a friend of my youth, one of those whose life and creative evolution I followed with delight, feeling “happiness when you are understood.” Having first met within the walls of Sverdlovsk television, where he shot his first film, we rarely saw each other in the future, only for interviews, in which he never refused me, invariably returning to theaters and actors in which that we were both grew up and whom both admired. His idol of those years, the artist of the Sverdlovsk musical comedy Anatoly Marenich, even played one of the roles in the film “There is no ford in the fire”, my friend from the music school Vadim Bibergan became a composer permanent of his films.
He was a wonderful person and a great sensitive artist. He was a rare example of enormous, lifelong, all-consuming love.