'Jack Frost', 'What a Mess!' and others. The best films starring Inna Churikova

October 13, 2019

Having starred in more than 60 films, Inna Churikova is one of the leading actresses of the Lenkom Theatre now. She worked with directors Pyotr Todorovsky, Vladimir Menshov, Mark Zakharov and others. Churikova is the muse of her husband Gleb Panfilov, whose films win the most prestigious awards.

Inna Churikova decided to be an actress in a school camp, where she played a small part in a children's production. In the 9th form, she started to attend the Youth Studio at the Moscow Stanislavsky Drama Theatre. It seemed that her fate was sealed, as after school, she decided to enter the Shchukin Theatre Institute. However, she failed at the first audition. The examiners, looking her straight in the eye, said that she was certainly gifted, but she had an improper appearance as for an actress. Like, if she was a little more nice-looking and had regular features, then she would have a big chanceю

Churikova was upset, but decided to enter the Shchepkin Higher Theatre School. One of the members of the Admissions, actor and director Veniamin Tsygankov, saw a spark in the girl, and invited her to attend his course. In 1965, she graduated from the School with a Red Diploma and had her first official job at the Moscow Youth Theatre.

'Jack Frost' (1964)

A scene from 'Jack Frost'. Directed by Alexander Rou. 1964

Inna Churikova started her film career as a student. She performed bit parts in the films 'Clouds over Borsk' and 'Walking the Streets of Moscow' .

But she became acclaimed in 1964 after playing part of capricious and spoiled Marfusha in 'Jack Frost' fairy tale directed by Alexander Rou. Tamara Nosova, by the time renowned actress, applied for the part, too. During casting, they both were given nuts to crack. Rou wanted to see who could do the job better.

The film was shot on the Kola Peninsula. In the story, Marfusha relishes her apples, but they could not find any apples, but onions discovered in the actress' busket. There were several shots at a run, so she had to eat a few onions without shedding a tear.

When she saw 'Jack Frost' for the first time, she burst into tears, as Marfusha, according to the actress, was an ugly, unimpressive girl. Churikova even thought about leaving the film career. But it was this role that made her a public's favourite, and not only in Russia, as this fairy tale was very popular in the Czech Republic. Ambassador Jaroslav Bašta awarded the actress for this role with a prestigious silver Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk medal.

'Thirty-Three' (1965)

A scene from 'Thirty-Three'. Directed by Georgy Danelia. 1965

Director Georgy Danelia offered Inna Churikova the part of Rosochka Lyubashkina in his comedy 'Thirty-three' (by the way, it was the last black-and-white film he shot). The cast was amazing, as the film features Yevgeny Leonov, Nonna Mordyukova, Lyubov Sokolova and others.

However, before the shooting, the actress faced again the thing she tried to forget from the very beginning of her career. 'Thirty-three' scriptwriter said that Rozochka should look like the most beautiful world celebrities, like Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot. Danelia asked the actress to enter the room once again, but this time as if she was a Hollywood star... Churikova was not taken aback. She went out, put on a lipstick, threw a scarf over her shoulders, came in again, threw the script on the table, said she would think about it, and left the room. And the screenwriter got under her sway.

'There Is No Ford in the Fire' (1967)

A scene from 'There Is No Ford in the Fire'. Directed by Gleb Panfilov. 1967

Inna Churikova met her husband-to-be, director Gleb Panfilov, two years later. During this time, she had a chance to star in the films 'Big Sister' by Georgy Natanson and 'The Elusive Avengers' by Edmond Keosayan.

In 1967, Panfilov was just beginning his career. He was looking for an actress to play a leading part in his first feature film 'There Is No Ford in the Fire' when he saw Inna Churikova on TV. He decided that the part of the artist, the nurse of the Civil War Tanya Tyotkina was perfectly fit for her.

When the film was released, critics scoffed: 'Is it a boy or a girl?' But the whole film crew (especially the director) admired Churikova's acting.

Panfilov fell in love. He recalled his first meeting with her: 'I was struck by the expression in her eyes…'

'The Beginning' 1970

A scene from 'The Beginning'. Directed by Gleb Panfilov. 1970

The actress also took a liking to the director at once, but their affair started a little later, during the shooting of the next collaborative film, 'The Beginning'. The script was written specially for Inna Churikova, and it is partly autobiographical, as it tells about a simple modest girl Pasha Stroganova striving to become an actress and to star in a big film and play a part of Jeanne d'Arc.

Personal relations of the director and actress did not hamper the work, quite the opposite. Panfilov and Churikova won prizes at the Venice Film Festival, and the Soviet Screen magazine titled her the best actress of the year.

However, there were a lot of critic, too. Many viewers who wrote letters to TV management grumped: how did she get the leading part being so unattractive?!

Over the next five years, Inna Churikova was not in the films. It was a very hard period for her, but it was in those years that she met the director Mark Zakharov, who offered her the part of Nele in the play 'Till'. So, Inna Churikova started working at the Lenkom Theatre. Over time, she became its leading actress. She took part in 'Ivanov', 'Seagull', 'Hamlet' and many other performances.

'Let Me Speak' (1975)

A scene from 'Let Me Speak'. Directed by Gleb Panfilov. 1975

In 1975, 'Let Me Speak' film by Gleb Panfilov was released.  Chairman of the Executive Committee Yelizaveta Uvarova resembles the actress, primarily due to her dedication to work. This part was especially important to her, as it was the first role after a five-year break in her film career.

The film was awarded at the Karlovy Vary festival and received an honorary diploma at the International Colour Film Festival in Barcelona.

'The Very Same Munchhausen' (1979)

A scene from 'The Very Same Munchausen'. Directed by Mark Zakharov. 1979

In 1979, Mark Zakharov, who worked with Churikova at the theatre, decided to collaborate with her on a film set, thus inviting the actress to play a part of the abandoned wife of the chief character in the film 'The Very Same Munchausen'.

Filming mostly took place in Germany, and Inna Churikova went there now and again. She made friends with the other actors. Oleg Yankovsky, Yelena Koreneva, Alexander Abdulov, Leonid Bronevoy were her partners. Leonid Yarmolnik acted a part of her son Feofil. The actress insisted on him playing this part, but during the work she was very hard on him. If according to the script she had to slap him in the face, Churikova did it with all her might, with slaps becoming even harder every time. 'It is to make it more convincing,' she said.

'Battlefield Love Affair' (1983)

A scene from 'Battlefield Love Affair'. Directed by Pyotr Todorovsky. 1983

The part of Vera Nikolayevna in Pyotr Todorovsky's 'Battlefield Love Affair' brought Inna Churikova another award — this time he got a prize at the 34th Berlin Film Festival. A year earlier, she was awarded the Vasilyev Brothers State Prize of the RSFSR for the leading part in the film 'Vassa' by Gleb Panfilov.

Inna Churikova keeps warm memory of the 'Battlefield Love Affair' filming. She liked working with Todorovsky, since he allowed actors to improvise, to offer something new. The film was nominated for Oscar.

'Adam's Rib' (1990)

A scene from 'Adam's Rib'. Directed by Vyacheslav Krishtofovich. 1990

In 1990, she starred in Vyacheslav Krishtofovich's comedy drama 'Adam's Rib'. Inna Churikova's heroine, a tourist guide Nina Yelizarovna, cares for her sick mother and does not always get on well with her adult daughters. According to the actress, her character was close to her, she liked the way she kept her head above water.

After this role, Churikova added three more awards to her numerous prizes — Nika, Silver Pegasus and cinema press's prize.

'Casanova's Cloak' (1993)

A scene from 'Casanova's Cloak'. Directed by Alexander Galin. 1993

The part of an art historian Chloe was written specially for Inna Churikova. Director Alexander Galin knew her very well and insisted on her participation in his film. Shooting was held in Venice. The actress could not give up working at the theatre and therefore she  had to fly to Italy in between performances.

She had not spoken a word of Italian before 'Casanova's Cloak' filming, but she had learned the language pretty well during the shoot. Actor Luca Barbareschi, who played her heroine's lover, said that Churikova is one of the most gifted actresses he ever met.

After the film was released, Inna's collection of awards was replenished with another Nika and Kinotavr prize.

'What a Mess!' (1995)

A scene from 'What a Mess!' Directed by Vladimir Menshov. 1995

'With every year passed, I play in this film even better,' Inna Churikova says about her work in the Vladimir Menshov's comedy 'What a Mess!' At first, she regretted that she had ever agreed to the part of aunt and mother Praskovya Krolikova, but at the film premiere she laughed with the rest of the audience, too. This work was one of the highlights of her film career.

Today, Inna Churikova is engaged in the theatre only. She still plays in Lenkom. Now, she has parts in two performances: 'The Lioness of Aquitaine' and 'White Lie'.

Source: mos.ru

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