Cult Film Director Dies

Cult Film Director Dies

Published: May 22, 2013 (Issue # 1760)

MOSCOW — Alexei Balabanov, a filmmaker whose rebel-like film character became a role model for thousands of Russians a decade ago, died Saturday in his home in a suburb of St. Petersburg, Russian television reported, citing family members.

He was 54.

Balabanov died after collapsing, his close friends said, RIA Novosti reported Saturday.

The Rosbalt news agency reported Saturday that the cause of death was heart failure.

However, earlier reports said that Balabanov knew he was gravely ill with cancer and that he made no attempt to hide it, according to friends and co-workers.

The flamboyant film-director who made more than 20 movies, from a film about the Chechen war to a gangster comedy, Balabanov was most famous for making “Brat” (Brother) and “Brat 2” (Brother 2).

“Brat 2,” released in 2000, tells the story of a young man who travels to the United States to save his brother from the hands of the mafia.

The main character is played by the late actor Sergei Bodrov. The film, viewed by hundreds of thousands, became a favorite among many politicians, who saw Bodrov as an iconic symbol of the entire country.

Late Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, whose death in detention in 2009 became a symbol of injustice, was among the many Russians who were inspired by the film, his friends said.

The film was critical of the American way of life, though it also portrayed ordinary Americans who helped the main hero. Many of the film’s lines became popular quotes.

Balabanov’s many films were often part of national discussion and were highly debated by critics and lawmakers.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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