In memory of Rasim Ojagov

Oleg Safaraliyev's photo
Oleg Safaraliyev's photo

Rasim Ojagov was a key component of the Renaissance of Azerbaijani cinema and one of the most important directors of Soviet cinema in general, the directors, actors and film critics told the correspondents of Vestnik Kavkaza, paying tribute to the great director, who would have turned 85 years old yesterday.

"Without a doubt, Rasim Ojagov is one of the outstanding directors of Soviet cinema. His contribution to the development of Azerbaijani cinema is still underestimated, I think - in my view, he was part of the Renaissance period of Azerbaijani cinema.Being active in developing national cinema, Rasim Ojagov was also a prominent representative of the Soviet cinema as a whole," director and expert on Azerbaijani cinema Oleg Safaraliyev said.

"In a professional's opinion, each of his movies was some step on the way to understanding a person and his inner world," Oleg Safaraliyev noted.

"His film 'Birthday', which received the State Prize of the Azerbaijan SSR was a real discovery for the Soviet cinema and one of the first films where he sensed this priority. Further, his key themes were developed in 'Before the closed door' and 'Interrogation'," the director said.

Director and screenwriter Rustam Ibrahimbekov stressed that it’s impossible to imagine Azerbaijani cinema without Rasim Ojagov’s films. "There are not so many filmmakers in Azerbaijan who worked at the level of world standards, and Rasim Ojagov certainly was one of them. We made 7 or 8 films together, and all of them form a story about the life of Baku and Azerbaijan for decades. From time to time I present these films in different cities, and  everywhere they are perceived as works of a high level, emotional, touching and truthful," he said.

"Rasim Odzhagov was an outstanding master of cinema," Rustam Ibragimbekov added.

Director Yuli Gusman shared his memories of Rasim Ojagov, who worked with him at the Azerbaijani film studio. "I remember him not only as a director who has created wonderful films, which made it to the history of cinema. I remember him as a lean, short, fast and energetic man, who didn't look like a classic successful director. He was open and simple, like we all are in the Caucasus when dealing with people, and always caused a general acceptance," Yuli Gusman noted.

"Driving the 'filmmaking' ship with an iron hand, being a stern captain, he remained a sweet, approachable, intelligent and delicate person. This combination of a reckless bravery of an artist and modest and his majestic manners made Rasim Ojagov a universal favorite and kept him not only in amazing films, but also in the hearts of all friends, acquaintances and admirers, those who knew him and will always remember him," the director concluded.

Rasim Ojagov was born on November 22, 1933 in Shaki, Azerbaijan SSR. After graduating from local school in Sheki in 1951, he attended film Institute in Moscow. In 1951-1956, he studied at camera operator faculty of VGIK. In 1965, he studied at director faculty of Azerbaijan Theatrical Institute.

In 1956, he worked as camera operator-director at “Azerbaijanfilm” and in 1973, as a director. In 1964, he conferred Honoured Art Worker of Chechen-Ingush ASSR. In 1950’s, a new generation of directors, including Mukhtar Dadashov, Teyyub Akhundov, Alisattar Atakishiyev appeared. In these years Rasim Ojagov began his career. 'Her great heart' film was the first film Ojagov. He was considered a professional in describing of psychological scenes.

The director was a laureate of the State Prize of the Azerbaijan SSR, a laureate of the USSR State Prize.

Rasim Ojagov passed away on July 11, 2006 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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