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Film director Andrei Konchalovsky celebrates his 70th birthday Monday
Film director Andrei Konchalovsky, who rose to fame in the former Soviet Union in the 1960s and later gained international acclaim, celebrates his 70th birthday Monday. Konchalovsky originally trained as a concert pianist, but moved into filmmaking after co-writing scripts for acclaimed director Andrei Tarkovsky's loosely biographical film Andrei Rublev. In the West, Konchalovsky is best known for his Oscar-nominated Runaway Train (1985) based on Akira Kurosawa's script, the comedy Tango & Cash (1989), and his adaptation of Homer's Odyssey (1997). In the Soviet Union Konchalovsky's feature debut, The First Teacher (1965), established his reputation for finely-observed character studies. His second film, Asya Klyachina's Story (1967) depicting life in a collective farm, was criticized by Soviet authorities as depressing, but acclaimed as a masterpiece when granted a full release 20 years later. Konchalovsky also filmed adaptations of Ivan Turgenev's A Nest of Gentle Folk (1969) and Chekhov's Uncle Vanya (1971). The director's three-and-a-half-hour epic Siberiade was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Cannes in 1979, earning him international attention and leading to his move to the United States the following year, where after several years of unemployment he achieved significant commercial success. The director returned to Russia in the 1990s, but continued to make films abroad, including The Odyssey, shot in Malta and Turkey. In 1991, he made motion picture history with Inner Circle, the first film to shoot scenes inside the Kremlin and the KGB headquarters. Konchalovsky is also known for theater productions in Russia and abroad, and for staging operas Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) in La Scala and Opera Bastille. He is also the author of several books. Konchalovsky's latest feature film, Gloss (Glyanets), depicting a new Russia succumbing to pop art and market forces, will be released to Russian movie theatres Monday.
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