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Renowned Russian Director Motyl Dies In Moscow

Vladimir Motyl in the RFE/RL studios in June 2007
Vladimir Motyl in the RFE/RL studios in June 2007
MOSCOW -- Russian film director Vladimir Motyl has died in a Moscow hospital at the age of 82, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Motyl was hospitalized in critical condition on February 5 after suffering a stroke and diagnosed with a spinal fracture and pneumonia. He died on February 21.

Motyl started making movies in the 1960s and was best-known for the cult film "The White Sun of the Desert" (1970) as well as "Zhenya, Zhenechka and Katyusha" (1967).

The latter film was extremely popular, but Soviet authorities claimed it was "disrespectful" of the Soviet Union's role in World War II. Motyl fell into official disfavor as a result.

But Motyl was honored with the prestigious People's Artist of Russia award in 2003.

Russian cameraman Eduard Rozovsky told RFE/RL that Motyl was a deeply talented man who was attentive to every scene and frame in his films.

Motyl was born in 1927 in Belarus. He dedicated one of his last films to his father, a Polish emigre who died in 1931 in the notorious Solovki prison camp on the White Sea.

Many of Motyl's other relatives were also persecuted during the Soviet era.