Russian Director Eldar Ryazanov Dies at 88

Director Eldar Ryazanov - H 2015

He directed the Soviet era's most popular comedy, 'The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!'

Eldar Ryazanov, one of Russia's most popular directors of the older generation, died in Moscow on Nov. 30. He was 88.

Ryazanov died of heart failure in a hospital where he had spent over a week due to respiratory problems. The Russian news agency TASS first reported his death, citing a source in his family.

A native of the Volga region city of Samara, Ryazanov graduated from Moscow's National State Cinema Institute (VGIK) in 1950.

He entered the limelight in 1956 with the New Year's-themed musical comedy Karnavalnaya noch (Carnival Night), which satirized aspects of the Communist society while staying within confines allowed by censors.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Ryazanov helmed several comedies (mostly co-written with Emil Braginsky), which did extremely well both critically and at the box office, making him one of the country's best-known directors.

Among his films are 1966's Beregis avtomobilya (Beware of the Car) and 1977's Sluzhebny roman (Office Romance).

However, his best-known work was the 1975 TV movie Ironiya sudby, ili S lyogkim parom (The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!). Set on New Year's Eve, the pic became part of the New Year's celebration for several generations of Russians.

Although mostly popular locally, many of Ryazanov's films were released internationally, and his 1983 movie Vokzal dlya dvoikh (A Railway Station for Two) was an official selection at Cannes that year.

Ryazanov's final project was a 2006 TV remake of Carnival Night.