Vladimir Menshov Dies: Director Of Oscar-Winning Soviet Film Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears Was 81

Famous Russian film director Vladimir Menshov, known for crowd pleasers featuring everyday people, died July 5 in Moscow of Covid complications, according to the Russian film studio Mosfilm and Russian media. He was 81.

Born Sept. 17, 1937 in Baku, USSR (now Azerbaijan), Menshov started his feature career as an actor in 1973. He made his writing debut a year later, followed by his directing debut in 1977. Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears was only his second movie as a director.

The romantic drama revolves around three young single women from small towns who share a room as they try to make lives for themselves in 1958 Moscow. The film, which tracks the women’s lives, careers and romances over the following two decades, was an unlikely box-office hit. Faced with initial criticism because it features a single mother, Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears was broadcast on TV shortly after its theatrical release in early 1980. Despite that, it attracted some 90 million viewers who saw it on the big screen. Its theme song, “Alexandra,” became one of the most famous film songs in Soviet cinema.

Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears won the 1981 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Menshov was not allowed to travel to the U.S. for the Oscars. His award was accepted by the cultural attaché from the Soviet Embassy.

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According to Menshov, President US Ronald Reagan watched Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears before meeting Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 in order to understand the “Russian soul.”

The movie also was featured in the Season 6 premiere of FX’s acclaimed Cold War drama The Americans; it was watched by Paige, Elizabeth and Claudia in the episode. The film also was echoed in the Season 6/series finale.

Below is the presentation of the Moscow Does Not Believe In Tears Oscar and the movie’s English-language trailer.

Menshov also directed the hugely popular 1984 comedy Love and Pigeons, which remains one of the most watched movies on Russian television ever.

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