ScreenplayVasily Shukshin Duration CountrySoviet Union
Release date1974 CastVasiliy Shukshin, Lidiya Fedoseyeva-Shukshina, Ivan Ryzhov, Mariya Skvortsova, Aleksey Vanin, Mariya Vinogradova Similar moviesVasily Shukshin directed The Red Snowball Tree and There Is Such a Guy
The Red Snowball Tree (Russian: Калина красная, Kalina krasnaya) is a 1974 Soviet drama film directed by Vasily Shukshin. It was the most successful film of that year. In total the film was watched by over 140 million people. German film director and screenwriter Rainer Werner Fassbinder included The Red Snowball Tree in the top ten of his favorite films.
Coming out of the penal colony, a thief-recidivist Yegor Prokudin (Vasili Shukshin) nick-named Grief decides to go to the village where the blue-eyed stranger Lyuba (Lidiya Fedoseyeva-Shukshina), with whom he corresponded by letters, lives. He needs to wait out and to look around. Lyuba appears to love him genuinely, despite his dark past and the strong misgivings of her own parents. Eventually life in the village destroys all of Yegor's plans, and he decides to break with the past forever. The villagers seem to get over their initial distrust to the former convict, and accept him as one of their own. Now he has friends, work and beloved woman. However, the criminals - former friends of Yegor - are not going to put up with his new way of life. One day three of them arrive in a car and try to persuade him to return to the old ways. When this fails, they stab him to death with a knife and leave. Pyotr (Aleksei Vanin), Lyuba's brother, gives them a chase and kills them, crushing their car with his dump-truck.
The director has long nurtured plans to shoot a picture about Stepan Razin, but the State Committee for Cinematography put forward a condition to Shukshin - before he begins to work on a historical drama he must first direct a picture about the present. Shukshin then decided to adapt the story Kalina Krasnaya which he published in the magazine Nash Sovremennik.
Filming took place in the city of Belozersk, Vologda Oblast, as well as in the surrounding villages - Sadovaya, Desyatovskaya and Krokhino. Local villagers took part in the episodic roles.
In November 1973, when the shooting was completed and Vasily Shukshin was busy with the editing, he suffered a severe attack of the peptic ulcer disease. The director was hospitalized but after staying in the hospital for a few days, he escaped from there and continued work on the film.
Vasili Shukshin as Yegor Prokudin, former burglar
Lidiya Fedoseyeva-Shukshina as Lyuba Baykalova, Yegor's bride
Ivan Ryzhov as Fedor Baykalov, Lyuba's father
Maria Skvortsova as Lyuba's mother
Aleksei Vanin as Pyotr Baykalov, Lyuba's brother
Maria Vinogradova as Zoya, Pyotr's wife
Euphemia Bystrova as Yegor's mother
Zhanna Prokhorenko as inquisitor
Lev Durov as Sergey Mikhailovich, ofitsiant
Alexander Gorbenko as Kolya, former Lyuba's husband
Nikolai Grabbe as chief of corrective labor colony
Nikolay Pogodin as diretor of sovkhoz
Georgi Burkov as Guboshlyop, criminal leader
Tatyana Gavrilova as Lusyen, criminal girlfriend
Artur Makarov as Buzya, criminal
Oleg Korchikov as Shurka, criminal
Natalya Gvozdikova as telegraph operator
Iya Arepina as Yegor's sister
Polish Film Critics Award Warsaw siren for best foreign film in 1973, shown in Poland
The main prize of the All-Union Film Festival in Baku (1974) "For an original, brilliant talent of the writer, director and actor"
Readers of the magazine Soviet Screen picked it as best film of the year, and Shukshin as best actor.
Shukshin posthumously received the Lenin Prize in 1976.