Russian Director Alexei Balabanov Dies at 54

He was considered one of his generation’s most talented directors.

Alexei Balabanov, one of the most prominent Russian directors of the 1990s and 2000s, died on May 18 at the age of 54 in a village near St Petersburg.

News about Balabanov’s death came from Sergei Selyanov, who produced many of Balabanov's films. Selyanov spoke with FM radio station RSN. No information about the cause of death was immediately available.

Balabanov, a native of the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, graduated from the Higher Courses for Screenwriters and Film Directors and made his first feature, Schastlivye Dni (Happy Days), in 1991.

His breakthrough movie was 1997’s criminal drama Brat (Brother), which collected the main prize at Russia’s main national film festival Kinotavr.

Balabanov arrived in the international limelight with his 2002 film, Voina (War), centered on the war between Russia and Chechnya. The movie premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival and collected the Grand Prix des Amériques.

The director’s most recent movie,Ya Tozhe Khochu (I Also Want It), premiered at the Rome Film Festival last November. According to some reports, Balabanov’s next project was supposed to be a film about Joseph Stalin’s youth.

Balabanov is survived by wife Nadezhda Vasilyeva, a costume designer, and two sons.