Born on September 17, 1939 in Baku.
Honored Artist of the RSFSR (1984). People's Artist of Russia (1991).
Prizes and awards:
- Cavalier of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" IV degree (1999)
- Winner of the All-Union Film Festival in the category "Prizes for acting" (1973, for the film "A Man in His Place")
- Laureate of the State Prize of the RSFSR named after N.K. Krupskaya (1978, for the film "Raffle")
- Winner of the Oscar in the nomination "Foreign Language Film" (1980, for the film "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears")
- Winner of the USA Distribution Guild Prize for the best foreign film (1980, for the film "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears")
- Winner of the Prize for the best foreign film at the CF of American Films in Houston (1981, for the film "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears")
- Laureate of the USSR State Prize (1981, for the film “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”)
- Laureate Prize of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov “For an outstanding work about Moscow” at the Moscow Pegasus-99 Film Festival (1999, for the film “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”)
Parents of Vladimir Menshov come from Astrakhan. Mom - Antonina Aleksandrovna Dubovskaya (born 1905) - the daughter of a wealthy peasant from the village of Chagan, near Astrakhan - after the revolution, fearing to be dispossessed, she left the family. Closer, she got a maid on a ship that made passenger flights from Baku to Iran. Here she met the first assistant to the captain Valentin Mikhailovich Menshov (born 1912). In 1938, they registered their relationship, and a year later their son Vladimir was born.
Vladimir’s childhood passed in Baku. In the same place, in 1941, his sister Irina was born, and mother now devoted all her time to raising children. Father by that time had already left the profession of a sailor. He was offered a job in the NKVD, and it was extremely dangerous to refuse such offers in those years.
After the war, in 1947, Vladimir's father was transferred to Arkhangelsk. The fabulous northern nature of Russia conquered a young boy. Subsequently, becoming a director, Vladimir Menshov admitted that his childhood impressions influenced his work a lot.
Despite moving, Vladimir always studied well. Moreover, the merit is in this, first of all, of himself. From an early age, Vladimir read a lot, expanding his horizons. Like all boys, he began with adventure literature, but gradually his taste developed, and in high school Vladimir began to pay more attention to the classics. Menshov carried this passion for books throughout his life, later collecting a solid library.
Meanwhile, in Arkhangelsk the Menshov family did not have to stay long. Already in 1950, Valentin Mikhailovich was again transferred - this time to his native Astrakhan. Here Vladimir graduated from high school. And he graduated with a silver medal! It was necessary to determine the profession ...
Way to the actors
Valentin Mikhailovich really wanted his son to choose the military profession. However, Vladimir dreamed of something completely different. Since childhood, he became interested in cinema. The boy repeatedly watched Soviet films, many of which he knew almost by heart. In addition, Vladimir participated in the productions of school plays, and also seriously studied literature on cinema.
By the end of school, Vladimir firmly established himself in the idea of becoming an actor. Parents were not enthusiastic about the choice of a son - this idea seemed too doubtful to them, but they did not begin to interfere with their son. So, in 1957, Vladimir went to conquer Moscow.
The first attempt was unsuccessful. At VGIK the young man was rejected. And they rejected the case, - Vladimir was completely unprepared. But the trip was not in vain. Plunging into a new world for himself, he was simply enchanted by it, and firmly decided not to retreat from his goal.
Vladimir returned to Astrakhan and got a job at the Karl Marx plant. There he worked first as a turner apprentice, and then as a turner. In 1958, the young man was accepted into the supporting staff of the Astrakhan Drama Theater, where he began to gain much-needed experience for entering the theater institute.
In the next two years, Vladimir managed to work as a miner in Vorkuta and a sailor in Baku. And only in 1961 he again decided to conquer Moscow ...
School-Studio of the Moscow Art Theater. Meeting with Vera Alentova
In Moscow, Vladimir Menshov was lucky enough to enter the Moscow Art Theater School-Studio, - in those years one of the best educational institutions in the country. Even as a student, he had the opportunity to work (albeit in extras) next to the stars of the theater scene. And it was a valuable experience! Meanwhile, teachers did not really believe in youth. According to many, as an actor, he was completely hopeless. Well, everyone tends to make mistakes ...
In the second year, there have been changes in the personal life of Vladimir Menshov. He married Vera Alentova, a student at the Moscow Art Theater School. Three years passed unnoticed, and the time for final exams came. It was then that Vladimir Menshov and Vera Alentova experienced the most severe disappointment for the first time. If other students were assigned to the theaters, then there simply wasn’t any work for them.
As a result, they had to leave for a while. Vladimir Menshov left for Stavropol, where he was accepted into the troupe of the Stavropol Regional Drama Theater named after Lermontov, but Alentova was still able to get a job in Moscow - at the Moscow Theater named after A.S. Pushkin.
Return to Moscow
In Stavropol, Vladimir Menshov worked for two years. Actor and director. Moreover, the direction more and more captured him, and in 1967 he returned to Moscow again to enter the director's course now.
Menshov appeared at VGIK to the legendary Mikhail Romm and presented him with his literary works. The young actor liked the master so much that he immediately accepted him to the second year, having specially invented for him “postgraduate studies in directing a feature film”. Here, under the leadership of Mikhail Ilyich Menshov, he mastered directorial art for three years.
As for personal life, the relationship between Menshov and Alentova was far from easy. In 1969, they had a daughter, Julia (who later became a popular TV presenter and film actress), but Vera and Vladimir lived separately. The reason for this was an elementary lack of housing. They did not have money for an apartment, so Alentova and her daughter had to live in the hostel of the A. Pushkin Theater, and Menshov was huddled in the VGIKovsky hostel. Such an abnormal situation, in the end, led to the fact that they decided to leave.
There is nothing surprising in this. As Mayakovsky once wrote: "The family boat crashed into everyday life." Another thing is surprising: having lived more than one year apart, Vera and Vladimir again united their fates. “The fact that we again began to live together is great happiness. I’m sure that parting was good for us. I think if we had not parted then, we would surely have parted later. But they would never have connected, ”said Alentova.
First movie roles
In 1970, Vladimir Menshov graduated from VGIK. For the diploma, a classmate of Vladimir Alexander Pavlovsky decided to stage the comedy "Happy Kukushkin" at the Odessa film studio. Vladimir Menshov acted in it as a co-author of the script, as well as the lead actor - the young worker Kukushkin. Menshov's debut was a success. In 1971, the picture received the main prize at the Kiev film festival "Youth-71."
No less successful was the second acting work of Menshov. For the role of the young chairman of the collective farm Semyon Bobrov in the film directed by Alexei Sakharov "Man in his place," he was awarded the first prize at the VI All-Union Film Festival in Alma-Ata.
After that, Menshov suddenly turned out to be a very popular actor. From 1972 to 1976 he starred in the film novel "The Salty Dog", the social drama "The Last Meeting" (collective farm foreman Klim Avilov), and the production drama "Own Opinion" (psychologist Petrov). In these paintings, Menshov created the image of decisive, strong-willed people with self-esteem and charm.
The first director's luck
Despite successful acting, the main thing for Menshov was still directing. His first work in this field was the short film "On the Question of the Dialectic of the Perception of Art, or Lost Dreams", filmed back in his studies. And the real debut as a director took place in 1976.
The painting “Raffle”, which tells about the life of modern schoolchildren, caused stormy success among the audience, the components of which were: a true script, a great game of young stars (Dmitry Kharatyan, Natalya Vavilova, Andrey Gusev, Evdokia Germanova), wonderful songs by Alexander Flyarkovsky and Alexei Didurov and , of course, quality directorial work. In 1978, Vladimir Menshov, along with screenwriter Semyon Lungin, cameraman Mikhail Bits and actress Elena Khanaeva, were awarded the RSFSR State Prize.
"Moscow does not believe in tears"
In 1978, Menshov began filming the melodrama "Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears." It is worth noting that the script for this film, written by Valentin Chernykh, has long remained unclaimed by the directors. The story of the Limit girl, overcoming life's difficulties and becoming the factory director, did not inspire anyone. In Soviet cinema there were already similar pictures, for example, “The Bright Way” by Grigory Alexandrov, where the main character Tanya Morozova magically grows from a housekeeper into a famous Stakhanovka, and then into an engineer of a textile factory. There are many known Hollywood examples, the most striking of which, of course, is the drama of Frank Capra, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Nevertheless, all this did not bother Menshov, he took up the job, as it turned out later, not in vain.
First of all, Vladimir Menshov completely reworked the script, increasing the volume to two episodes and introducing new characters. He assigned his wife Vera Alentova to the main role of Katya Tikhomirova, and the remaining ones to the popular Alexei Batalov and Oleg Tabakov and the young Irina Muravyev, Rais Ryazanov, Alexander Fatyushin. In his painting, Menshov very organically combined two different eras: Moscow of the 60s and Moscow of the 70s. Very skillfully, a retro scene with Leonid Kharitonov, Innokenty Smoktunovsky and George Yumatov was introduced into the fabric of the film.
The film was released in February 1980 and immediately won the hearts of millions of Soviet citizens. The success was simply overwhelming! People went to him 2-3-4 times! In total, in 1980, more than 80 million people saw the picture in our country alone! Not surprisingly, according to the results of the survey of the magazine “Soviet Screen”, “Moscow does not believe in tears” was named the best film of the year.
Great success awaited the picture and abroad. More than a hundred countries smoked it for hire, and in the USA “Moscow Doesn’t Believe in Tears” was awarded the highest cinematic award - “Oscar” in the nomination “Best Foreign Film”. In addition, the film was awarded with high awards at film festivals in Houston (USA), Quito (Ecuador), Brussels (Belgium) and Potrugalia.
"Love and pigeons"
The next directorial work of Vladimir Menshov was the picture “Love and Pigeons” based on the play of the same name by Vladimir Gurkin. This hilarious, ingenuous comedy suddenly turned out to be out of favor with the "top". And the thing is that Menshov finished it just in the midst of an anti-alcohol company that developed in the Soviet Union. The management really didn’t like that the heroes of the film are often attached to the glass, and one of the characters always appears to be taddy in the frame. Menshov was offered to cut several episodes, but he did not agree. Then the director was simply suspended, and the film was put on a shelf. On the screens of “Love and Pigeons” came out (fortunately in the full version) only the field of how the anti-alcohol company subsided.
Spectators (unlike critics) greeted Love and Pigeons with great enthusiasm. Soon, at the festival of comedy films in the Spanish city of Torremolinas, the picture received the main prize - the Golden Rook. And today she is one of the audience’s favorite paintings.
Acting in the 80s - 90s
All these years, Menshov continued to actively act in films in films of various genres. Millions of viewers remembered him by the role of Pasha Golikov, looking for a bride with the help of his cousin - the good-natured and merry Genka (Alexander Pankratov-Cherny) in Gerald Bezhanov’s adventurous and lyrical comedy “Where is Nofelet?”.
Among other works of the 80s: Oleg Nikolaevich in Karen Shakhnazarov’s social drama Courier, Sergey in Ernest Yasan’s melodrama Sorry, Potapov in Viktor Tregubovich’s journalistic drama The Highway.
Vladimir Menshov had a lot of interesting works in the difficult years for domestic cinema of the 90s. He again played Menshikov in the historical drama “Tsarevich Aleksey” (the first time the image of the associate of Peter I was created by Menshov back in 1976 in the comedy “How Tsar Peter Arapa married”), starred in the historical films “General” and “Trotsky”, as well as in other paintings. But the main success came to Menshov again as a director. We are talking about the comedy "Shirley-Myrli" ...
In the mid-90s - the time of the complete collapse of Soviet cinema - most of the audience turned their attention to Western cinema. Therefore, Menshov’s attempt to create a fun and most important box office picture looks almost a feat. In his film Shirley-Myrli, Menshov acted both as the author of the script, and as a director, and as an actor.
He took the brilliant and inimitable Valery Garkalin to the main role of the numerous twin brothers Shniperson-Rabbit. And I was not mistaken. The fact that the picture was a decent box office success is a considerable merit of this particular actor. The venerable Inna Churikova and Oleg Tabakov, as well as the popular Igor Ugolnikov, already played brilliantly. Menshov again entrusted the main female role to his wife - Vera Alentova. Against the background of other actors, she looked a little paler, but in general she coped with her task.
To say that Menshov created a masterpiece would be a very strong exaggeration. Nevertheless, the picture was fun, with a whole set of unexpected twists. Some of the statements went to the people, becoming winged, which also speaks in its favor. But most importantly, she showed that our cinema is still alive and able to attract a large audience.
In the new century
Vladimir Menshov entered the new century with a new directorial work - the retro-melodrama Envy of the Gods. The picture revealed to the audience a tragic love story of two people. The main character of the film Sonia (once again Vera Alentova starred in this role) is already a middle-aged woman who seemed to have everything in life: a loving husband, an intelligent son, good work. But love is an insidious thing, and it falls in love with the French journalist Andre (Anatoly Lobotsky), who came to the USSR.
A small role in the film was played by the brilliant French actor Gerard Depardieu. About how Depardieu got into the film, Menshov recalls with a smile: “Actually, we had an agreement with Belmondo. But at the time for which the shooting was planned, he became seriously ill. It became clear that he could not be removed. In the list of possible candidates from well-known Frenchmen of the age category we needed were Delon and Depardieu - they called him first. He agreed ... "
Critics once again reacted coolly to the new film by Vladimir Menshov, as they once did for the films Moscow Doesn't Believe in Tears and Love and Pigeons. But the main judges always remained and remain the audience. They greeted the picture warmly. Although “Envy of the Gods” did not have such rapid success as the previous works of Menshov, but she took a worthy place in his directorial biography.
In recent years, Vladimir Menshov has been actively working in the cinema both as an actor and as a producer. He brilliantly played the role of Ustinov in the historical series Brezhnev, police major Bragin in the series Moscow. Central District ”and many other roles. Great success fell on his work in the blockbusters Night Watch and Day Watch, where Menshov created the image of the Light Magician Geser.