Boris Barnet

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Boris Barnet
File:Boris Barnet.jpg
Boris Barnet
Born Boris Vasilyevich Barnet
(1902-06-18)18 June 1902
Moscow, Russian Empire (now Russia)
Died 8 January 1965(1965-01-08) (aged 62)
Riga, Soviet Union (now Latvia)
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1927–1963
Spouse(s) Natalia Glan (1926–1927)
Yelena Kuzmina (1928–1936)
Valentina Barnet
Alla Kazanskaya

Boris Vasilyevich Barnet (Russian: Бори́с Васи́льевич Ба́рнет; 18 June 1902 – 8 January 1965) was a Soviet film director, actor and screenwriter of British origin. He directed 27 films between 1927 and 1963.

Early years

Boris Barnet was born in Moscow. His grandfather Thomas Barnet was a printer who moved to the Russian Empire from Great Britain back in the 19th century.[1] A student of the Moscow Art School, he joined the Red Army at age 16 and was then professionally involved in boxing. In 1927 he shot his first feature, a comedy film, The Girl with a Hatbox, starring Anna Sten. His 1928 melodramatic film The House on Trubnaya, starring Vera Maretskaya, was rediscovered in the mid-1990s and now ranks as one of the classic Russian silent films.

Encouraged in his early efforts by Yakov Protazanov, Barnet emerged in the 1930s as one of the country's leading film-makers, working with the likes of Serafima Birman and Nikolai Erdman. Amongst Barnet's masterpieces, we find Outskirts (1933), a pacifist story acclaimed at the first Venice Film Festival.

Later years and work

Barnet's postwar work is exemplified by Secret Agent, the first Soviet spy film. The Stalin Prize-winning film was also years ahead of its time in exhibiting Hitchcockian influence and tricks and helped cement Barnet's reputation abroad.[2]

It was Barnet's gift of artistic invention that made him stand out from the crowd of Soviet colleagues. In a Barnet film, a photograph in the newspaper would unexpectedly come alive, and scenes would often end with a detail introducing the next scene. He would begin a scene with a close up, "so that the space is progressively discovered by changing the axis or by camera movement".[2] Among Russian filmmakers professing their admiration for Barnet was Andrei Tarkovsky.

After some years of artistic silence Boris Barnet committed suicide in Riga, Latvian SSR. His body was found hanging from a fishing line.[3] He was survived by wife Alla Kazanskaya and daughter Olga Barnet.


As director
  • Miss Mend (Мисс Менд) (1926)
  • The Girl with a Hatbox (Девушка с коробкой)(1927)
  • Moscow in October (Москва в Октябре) (1927)
  • The House on Trubnaya (Дом на Трубной) (1928)
  • Living Things (Живые дела) (1930)
  • The Ghost (Привидения) (1931)
  • The Thaw (Ледолом) (1931)
  • Outskirts (Окраина) (1933)
  • By the Bluest of Seas (У самого синего моря) (1936)
  • A Night in September (Ночь в сентябре) (1939)
  • The Old Horseman (Старый наездник) (1940) output to the screen in 1959
  • A Good Lad (Славный малый) (1943)
  • Dark is the Night (Однажды ночью) (1945)
  • Secret Agent (Подвиг разведчика) (1947)
  • Pages of Life (Страницы жизни) (1948)
  • Bountiful Summer (Щедрое лето) (1950)
  • Lyana (Ляна) (1955)
  • The Poet (Поэт) (1956)
  • The Wrestler and the Clown (Борец и клоун) (1957)
  • Annushka (Аннушка) (1959)
  • Alyonka (Алёнка) (1961)
  • Whistle Stop (Полустанок) (1963)
As actor


  1. Nekipelov A.D., Danilov-Danilyan V.I. New Russian Encyclopedia in 12 Volumes. Volume 2. Entsiklopediya, 2005. ISBN 978-5-94802-009-9
  2. 2.0 2.1 Richard Taylor, Ian Christie. Inside the Film Factory: New Approaches to Russian and Soviet Cinema. Routledge, 1991. Page 158.
  3. "Boris Barnet". Retrieved 13 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links