Mar 072009


The Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev character in Serye Volki, played by Aleksandr Belyavsky, has a distinctive voice. It helps me to follow some of the plot, because in the end a secretly recorded conversation of him is turned over to Khrushchev, and I had no trouble remembering whose voice is on it. In the above scene, he’s referring to something different — the fact that he isn’t capable of being very convincing if he’s the one to call Khrushchev to lure him back to Moscow.

I’m not quite sure what to call his voice — a combination of nasal and raspy? Did the real Brezhnev have a voice like that? I don’t know. I don’t recall ever hearing him speak.

I wondered if the actor put on this voice for the movie, or if it was his own distinctive voice. I went to IMDB to see if I had ever seen Belyavsky before.


It turns out I had, in “Mesto vstrechi izmenit nelzya.” He played the bad guy, Fox. His voice was entirely different there.

It looks like he put on thick eyebrows for the Serye Volki movie, too.

He seems to me a good enough actor, but one thing that wasn’t made clear from the movie was what he brought to the table that made the others want to put him in Khrushchev’s place. Yes, some of the others thought he was only a “transitional” figure, that he would soon be replaced by someone else. But he had to have had some leadership ability, or following, or power position, to make the others push him forward.

It’s difficult for an actor to portray charisma or leadership ability in a movie. Sometimes the point can be made by the way the other actors react to him, and that part is done very well in Serye Volki. It’s done very well in the case of the Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov character — done so well that even though he has only a minor role in the movie I immediately went to Wikipedia to learn more about the real Suslov. But there seemed to be something missing in the Brezhnev character. I won’t rule out the possibility that that’s exactly what was intended.

Oct 072008


Here is the scene from Mesto Vstrechi Izmenit’ Nel’zya where the argument takes place over whether it’s OK for cops to break the law in pursuit of the bad guys. The Sharapov character pictured here says, “If we break the law once, then once again, if we use it to bridge the gaps in our investigations, it won’t be a law anymore. It will be a bludgeon.”

BTW, it’s interesting that as the argument gets heated between Sharapov and the character played by Vladimir Vysotsky, that Vysotsky’s voice becomes more like the voice he uses in his singing. You can google for YouTube videos of it. I decided to learn more about him after watching this series. But that’s not where I’m going right now.

After watching Mesto Vstrechi a few days ago, I watched Cargo 200 (Gruz 200). That turned out to be a difficult, sickening film to watch. It was even more difficult to make myself watch some of it a second time. There are other parts of it I want to go back to watch again, but so far I haven’t had the stomach for it. But it’s an important film. It shows what kind of society you have when Sharapov’s prediction comes to pass. I’ll have more to say about this one.

Aug 262008

I’m looking forward to this. I watched the first segment tonight.

I’ve made some remarks about how the police are portrayed in Soviet movies in the post-WWII era. I’m wondering if this is going to show me that my generalizations were wrong, or if it’s going to confirm them. We’ll see. It looks good so far.

Oh, the English title is “The Meeting Place Should Not be Changed.” I rely on the English myself, but I like to keep the original Russian language titles in my head. It helps me learn.