Biography of Alexei Uchitel

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The author of the films “Space as a premonition”, “Matilda” was born in the family of director Efim Uchitel. From a young age, his father took Julia Rommelt  to the shooting, and the boy had the opportunity to observe the process of the birth of cinema, how the film crew and actors work. At the age of seven, Teacher Jr. not only went to school, but also entered the film club at the Palace of Pioneers.

After graduating from school, Alexei was predictably going to enter the directing department of VGIK, but his father convinced him to take a longer path, and first learn to be an operator. The applicant agreed with his father’s arguments that you first need to learn everything about the image, but he failed the entrance exams. He worked for a year on a free basis as an assistant operator, gained experience, in 1969 he entered VGIK, and in 1975 he became a certified operator. Immediately after receiving his diploma, the Teacher was drafted into the army, and upon his return from it, he got a job at a documentary film studio in his native Leningrad.

Pen’s test was his documentary “Rock” about the main characters of Russian rock Yuri Shevchuk, Viktor Tsoi, Oleg Garkush and Boris Grebenshchikov. The film was released in 1987. And in 1991, Uchitel and his wife Kira Saksaganskaya organized the Rock film studio. The organization helps young talented directors in their work. Thanks to the support of Alexei and his wife, the debut films of Dunya Smirnova, Alexander Rogozhkin, Anna Mathison, Pavel Ruminov and other directors saw the light of day.

In 1994, Uchitel made his first feature film, Giselle’s Mania, in which Galina Tyunina embodied the life story of the ballerina Olga Spesivtseva on the screen. In 2000, another biographical picture was released – “The Diary of His Wife”, which tells about the private life of the Russian writer Ivan Bunin.

And three years later, a landmark for the Teacher moody film “Walk” was released, which became his hallmark. Irina Pegova, Evgeny Tsyganov and Pavel Barshak played their debut film roles in the film. The films Cosmos as a Premonition and The Edge, which followed The Walk, cemented the director’s success.

The whole last year the name of the Teacher did not leave the newspaper pages because of the scandal connected with the film “Matilda”, which was just being prepared for hire. State Duma deputy Natalya Poklonskaya saw in the plot about the double life of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II an insult to the feelings of believers. However, the film was released on October 26, 2017.

Personal life of Alexei Uchitel:

Kira Saksaganskaya became the wife of Alexei Uchitel back in 1981. In this marriage two sons were born. One of them, Ilya Uchitel (1992), continues his directorial dynasty.

In fact, Alexei Uchitel has two families. Rumors circulated in the press for a long time that it was the Teacher who was the father of Julia Peresild’s daughters Anna and Maria, until the actress herself confirmed this information in 2017 in an interview.

Nevertheless, there is no talk of the Teacher’s divorce from Kira Sagsaganskaya.

Interesting facts about Alexei Uchitel:

  • Alexey Uchitel started working with documentaries about representatives of the Leningrad rock club. According to him, after filming and talking with rockers, he felt like a more liberated person. Then for the first time he wanted to make a feature film.
  • The director keeps himself in good physical shape through tennis.
  • Alexey Uchitel is very picky about the final product. So the episode with the night conversation of the heroes Yevgeny Tsyganov and Dallas Yocum in the film “Space as a Premonition” was removed from the 53rd take.