Stanislav Rostotsky

Stanislav Rostotsky
(Станислав Ростоцкий)

Stanislav Rostotsky
Born Stanislav Iosifovich Rostotsky
(1922-04-21)21 April 1922
Rybinsk, Russian SFSR
Died 10 August 2001(2001-08-10) (aged 79)
Vyborg, Russia
Spouse(s) Nina Menshikova

Stanislav Iosifovich Rostotsky (Russian: Станисла́в Ио́сифович Росто́цкий; 21 April 1922, in Rybinsk 10 August 2001, in Vyborg) was a Russian film director, the recipient of the two USSR State Prizes and a Lenin Prize.

Early years

Stanislav Rostotsky was born in Rybinsk on April 21, 1922 into a Russian-Polish family. His grandfather Boleslaw Rostotsky served as a general in the Imperial Russian Army and a prosecutor following the Emperor's order.[1] His father Iosif Boleslawovich (1890—1965) was an acclaimed doctor, docent, author of 200 monographs, as well as a secretary of the Scientific Medical Council at the People's Commissariat for Health.[2] His mother Lidia Karlovna (1882—1964) was a milliner turned a housekeeper. He had a brother Boleslaw Norbert Iosifovich (born 1911), a famous theater historian during the Soviet days.[3][4] At the age of five Stanilsav watched Battleship Potemkin and became obsessed with cinema. In 1936 he met Sergei Eisenstein and took part in his unfinished Bezhin Meadow movie as an actor.[5] Eisenstein became his teacher and good friend later on. He convinced Stanislav that only a well-read and educated person may become a film director. This influenced his decision to enter the Institute of Philosophy and Literature in 1940.

In 1942 he was enrolled in the Red Army. He left for the front line in a year. As a private he served in the 6th cavalry corps and traveled from Vyazma through Smolensk to Rivne, taking part in battles. In 1944 Rostotsky was seriously injured during the fight near Dubno when he was driven over by a Nazi tank. He survived only due to a trench where his body was partly buried. According to Rostotsky, one of his legs was ruined, as well as his rib cage and his hand. "In addition, a shell fragment hurt me in the head... Good thing the mates took my gun away — otherwise I would've probably shot myself. Because I spent 22 hours lying in that swamp, losing my consciousness, so I had time to think."[6] He was saved by one of the passing soldiers and then — by a front nurse Anna Chugunova who carried him to the hospital. He later dedicated his film The Dawns Here Are Quiet to her.[7] As a result, Rostotsky lost one of his feet. He wore a prosthesis, yet never mentioned it and led an active life. Many people working with him didn't even realise he was disabled. He was awarded the 1st class Order of the Patriotic War and the Order of the Red Star.


On September, 1944 at the age of 22 Stanislav joined VGIK to become a film director. His teacher was Grigori Kozintsev. He studied for seven years, simultaneously working as Kozintsev's assistant at the Lenfilm studio. In 1952 Rostotsky directed his graduation movie Ways-Roads. During the audition he met his future wife, an actress Nina Menshikova. The movie was ultimately banned by censorship,[3] yet Rostotsky received good recommendations and was sent to work at the Gorky Film Studio where he spent 35 years.[5]

Between 1955 and 1989 Rostotsky directed and co-directed 12 motion pictures, one short film and one documentary Profession: Film Actor (1979) dedicated to his close friend Vyacheslav Tikhonov who started in five of his movies in the leading roles. Unlike many other directors, he cast his wife only once, in a supporting role in the film We'll Live Till Monday (1968). Their son — Andrei Rostotsky, a professional actor and stuntman — was also given only one role in the historical war picture A Squadron of Flying Hussars (1980) co-directed by Stanislav under a pseudonym of Stepan Stepanov. War was a running theme in most of his movies, referred to either directly or indirectly. He was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1974.

He also served as a teacher at VGIK and the President of the Jury at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival in 1975,[8] the 10th Moscow International Film Festival in 1977,[9] the 11th Moscow International Film Festival in 1979,[10] the 12th Moscow International Film Festival in 1981[11] and the 13th Moscow International Film Festival in 1983.[12] As a journalist he was a regular contributor to a number of film periodicals and biographical books, wrote about Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Kozintsev, Andrei Moskvin and Leonid Bykov.

A long-time member of the Filmmakers' Union, he lost his place at the board during the infamous V Congress of the Soviet Filmmakers in 1986, being accused of «nepotism» and «political conformism» along with Lev Kulidzhanov, Sergei Bondarchuk and other top directors. This led to a split, restructuring and further dramatic changes. Many critics and filmmakers consider it to be the start of decline of the Soviet cinema.[13][14] Rostotsky himself left the industry after finishing his final film From the Life of Fyodor Kuzkin in 1989. In his later interviews he told that he had nothing left to say and that he was horrified by the current state of cinema.[15]

Late years

During his late years Rostotsky spent a lot of time at his house near the Gulf of Finland, fishing, as this was his favourite hobby. He turned to cinema only once — to act in the 1998 TV mini-series At Daggers Drawn, an adaptation of the classic novel of the same name (director Alexandr Orlov). He also took part in the Window on Europe film festival in Vyborg. Rostotsky died on August 10, 2001 on his way to the festival when he felt a strong pain in the chest. He managed to pull the car over, his wife called the ambulance, but the doctors were unable to save him.[16] Stanislav Rostotsky was buried in Moscow on the Vagankovo Cemetery.[17] In just a year his only son Andrei Rostotsky died tragically as he fell down a cliff while making preparations for his new movie.[18]



His 1968 film We'll Live Till Monday won the Golden Prize at the 6th Moscow International Film Festival.[19]

Rostotsky's films The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972) and White Bim Black Ear (1977) were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,[20][21] with the latter also winning the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.


  1. Three Losses (in Russian) Trud (newspaper) January 25, 2007
  2. State Archives of the Perm Krai
  3. 1 2 Nina Menshikova interview (in Russian) Rolan magazine, May, 2005
  4. Rostotsky Boleslaw Norbert Iosifovich Great Soviet Encyclopedia 1969—1978
  5. 1 2 Natalia Kulichenko, "Stanislav Rostotsky: Director with Heart" Foliant (A Literary Site), April 11, 2012 (in Russian)
  6. Cinema We Had... Stanislav Rostotsky (interview in Russian) Vladimir Molchanov 2002
  7. 30 years of The Dawns Here Are Quiet by Stanislav Rostotsky Channel One Russia May 8, 2002
  8. "9th Moscow International Film Festival (1975)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
  9. "10th Moscow International Film Festival (1977)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  10. "11th Moscow International Film Festival (1979)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
  11. "12th Moscow International Film Festival (1981)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  12. "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  13. Natalya Bondarchuk, Sole Days Moscow: AST, 2010, 368 p. ISBN 978-5-17-062587-1
  14. Feodor Razzakov, Industry of Betrayal, or Cinema That Blew Up the USSR Moscow: Algorithm, 2013, 416 p. ISBN 978-5-4438-0307-4
  15. «Cinema — and art in general — must rely on emotions. Modern cinema relies on instincts. We were smothered by vulgarity» A 1996 interview (in Russian)
  16. Stanislav Rostotsky Died Behind the Wheel of His Favourite Car Komsomolskaya Pravda August 14, 2001 (in Russian)
  17. Celebrity Tombs
  18. The Last 24 Hours of Andrei Rostotsky Channel One Russia 24 January, 2007
  19. "6th Moscow International Film Festival (1969)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  20. "The 45th Academy Awards (1973) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-30.
  21. "The 51st Academy Awards (1979) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-07.
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