documentary filmmaker V. S. Yeshurin Keywords:, Soviet African newsreel
Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of a remarkable master of documentaries, director, Honored Artist of the RSFSR, twice winner of the USSR State Prize Vladimir Semyonovich Yeshurin (1909-1985).
At one time, he was well known in our country and abroad. He called himself the "chronicler" of the victory march of the Soviet people and the "organizer" of cooperation with African countries. The Museum of the History of Moscow contains his diary entries and numerous photo collections. In the Russian State Library you can find his book " Through Eight Seas and two Oceans "(Goskomizdat, 1939) and a pamphlet by Boris Tseitlin, his partner on a trip to the front in Ethiopia in 1936, "Journey to Abyssinia" (Moscow, 1937).
In 1927, an 18-year-old young man, a junior operator of Sovkinochronika, sets himself the goal of life "to capture on film events that will be wonderful historical material in decades to come." He films foreign delegations visiting the Soviet Union and the first five-year construction projects. In 1928, Yeshurin captured the opening of the Central Park of Culture and Recreation. Gorky. Then he goes to Kazakhstan , where the Karsakpai copper smelter has just been put into operation in the western part of the Hungry Steppe. He manages to " show how the Kazakhs, who were formerly backward and unaccustomed to collective labor, work in production." After Kazakhstan, he shot the construction of the Rostov plant of agricultural machinery, and in Nizhny Novgorod-the beginning of the construction of an automobile plant.
The next business trip is to the Ajarian ASSR, tea plantations and a tea factory in Chakva. Over the next two years, Yeshurin died twice.-
participated in expeditions on the icebreaker "Sadko" in the Arctic waters.
After the Arctic, 26-year-old Vladimir is sent to Abyssinia to shoot military operations, create film documents about the struggle of the Ethiopian people against the Italian fascists.
Scroll through the old archives. 1934-1935-Mussolini prepares for the armed annexation of Ethiopia, a member of the League of Nations. Western states, especially Britain and France, who feared the strengthening of their competitors in East Africa, are trying to moderate the appetite of the fascists by throwing them part of the Ethiopian territory.
...The road to the Horn of Africa is not close: through Poland, Germany, and France. From Paris, Yeshurin and his partner Zeitlin travel by rail to Marseille, then by boat to Djibouti. Diary entries reproduce the first impressions of that time. Single-funnel Italian steamboats with sick and wounded Italian soldiers sail past the porthole. There was a meeting with the American newsreel Stoling. "You won't be able to work in Abyssinia," he says. "You can't shoot there, but you can have your head removed immediately. You have no idea how wild they are! They castrate Europeans, kill every white man, mistaking him for an Italian. The country lacks the slightest culture."
In October 1935, Soviet cameramen landed in the port of Djibouti. It was a great effort to get to Addis Ababa. The city "is nothing like the village that Mr. Stoling called it," Yeshurin writes. - Corrupt cameramen and journalists from Western countries have already created an opinion in Europe about Abyssinia as a barbaric country. Primitive life, primitive culture get along peacefully here with the latest European culture and technology. I responded to the distrust by shooting all the cultural enterprises of Addis Ababa, shooting schools, lyceums, beautiful streets, cars, restaurants. This soon convinced the Ethiopians that I had come with good intentions. Even an uncultured Abyssinian knows that the Russians have the same religion as they do, and a cultured Abyssinian knows that the Soviet Union has announced sanctions against Italy."
Dessieh is the Negus headquarters, 432 kilometers from Addis Ababa. On the purchased semi - truck "Chevrolet" with a red flag on board and the inscription "USSR-Moscow, Soyuzkinochronika", the operators traveled for eight days to the area of military operations. "People armed with sabers and spears, wrapped in white veils, come across us alone and in groups. Some are armed with old-style rifles. Sometimes there are so many of them that it is not always possible to pass through the road."
Often, filming had to be done at the risk of life. "What we saw," Yeshurin would later write, " for a long time I dreamed in the form of nightmares, from which I sometimes screamed in my sleep and woke up with cold sweat on my forehead... I filmed the bombing of Red Army hospitals.
Red Cross, the use of mustard gas under Maccalae. At Lake Haik, north of Dessieh, we had to shoot a bombing raid on a village whose residents had never seen an airplane. The incendiary bombs set everything ablaze. People were falling. I took pictures of a wounded child and an old man crawling without a leg, a murdered mother and a girl who lost her mind. My car was bombed..."
About 10 thousand meters of film were delivered to Moscow from October 1935 to April 1936. Based on them, the issues "To the events in Ethiopia" and "Ethiopia does not give up"were edited.
Most of the filming of Yeshurin and Zeitlin was included in the full-length documentary "Freedom of Ethiopia". He went on the screens of the world, exposing fascism. The film was shown at the League of Nations and helped the Soviet delegation, which demanded the introduction of strict sanctions against the aggressor. Yeshurin and Zeitlin were awarded the Order of the Badge of Honor for their exemplary performance of the task. They described the seven months of hard work in Ethiopia in the books mentioned above.
The war in Ethiopia taught young Yeshurin a lot. Maybe this experience helped him get through the difficult trials that followed.
During the Soviet-Finnish war, he was in the most "hot spots". The films he shot were included in the documentary film "The Mannerheim Line", a unique documentary of that era.
During the Great Patriotic War, V. Yeshurin, with the rank of lieutenant Colonel, headed groups of operators on various fronts. For his participation in the fighting, he was awarded two Orders of the Red Banner. In his diaries, he mentions more than 60 films he made before being wounded in 1944.
Barely recovering from his wound, he flies to Yugoslavia, to the rear to the Nazis, to the mountains to the partisans. "Filming took place during heavy mountain crossings, continuous battles," Yeshurin recalled. - These were difficult but memorable days. Victory over the enemy found in Yugoslavia. I returned home alone. My friend Vitya Muromtsev was killed in the last days of fighting in the Adriatic Sea area." For the film" Yugoslavia", which was widely shown in the USSR and abroad, Yeshurin was awarded the Stalin Prize. The Yugoslav government awarded him the highest military order "Partisan Star" of the first degree.
In the autumn of 1945 Yeshurin in Manchuria and China: participates in the filming of the film "The defeat of the Japanese troops".
IN NIGERIA, MALI...
In the 50s-60s, V. Yeshurin worked at the Central Documentary Film Studio in Moscow. He took part in the first expedition to Antarctica on the diesel-electric ship "Ob". Together with Alexander Kochetkov, he filmed the Obi sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, calling at foreign ports, including Cape Town.
In October 1960, he returned from Nigeria, where he shot a holiday dedicated to the country's independence, took film interviews with Nigerians, captured on film the original life in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Kapo, and wonderful local landscapes. In the same year, he visited Liberia and Ghana.
In 1963, Yeshurin made a trip to Mali. In the lens of his film camera get characteristic episodes from life in Bamako, Mopti, Sanga, Bandiagara. He takes pictures of the largest agricultural objects. His films vividly tell about the culture, customs and traditions of the Malians.
The result of V. Yeshurin's trips to Africa were the films " In a good way, Nigeria!", "Holiday in Liberia", "Fair in Casablanca", " Happiness to you, Mali!", "Sun of Friendship over Sudan".
In one of his interviews in 1974, when he was already retired and working as a lecturer at the All-Union Znanie Society, Yeshurin will say that he shot more than 300 films, that he traveled all over the Soviet Union and visited 46 countries of the world, 12 of them on the African continent.
Now all this heritage is stored in the Central State Archive of Film and Photographic Documents near Moscow. It is used when creating new films, when studying our and African history.
...Vasily Katanyan, a well-known Soviet documentary film director and Lenin Prize winner, has made a film about the Red Cross in Ethiopia. The filming was preceded by work with archival films by Yeshurin and Zeitlin. It was these films that helped to recreate the picture of the selfless work of the Ethiopian and International Red Cross during the battles of 1936. The viewer saw how tent hospitals were created, how doctors from different countries helped the Ethiopian Red Cross train medical personnel.
"Since childhood," V. Katanyan told the author of these lines , " I remember two names of documentary filmmakers-Vladimir Yeshurin and Roman Karmen. These names were already booming. Both of them went to shoot military operations in the "hot spots" of the world: the first together with Zeitlin - in Ethiopia, the second-in revolutionary Spain... Yeshurin was a cheerful, energetic person. In 1951-1952. he went with R. Carmen to Vietnam, to film the liberation war of the Vietnamese people. I remember how excitedly he called on us, the young ones, to more actively cover the struggle of peoples for independence..."
...Yeshurin's family lives in Moscow. "My father," Inga Vladimirovna told me, " belongs to the generation of Soviet people who had to revive Russia in the ashes of the civil war. They were real fighters in labor and in battle. They loved their homeland wholeheartedly and, defending its ideals, gave themselves without reserve."
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