Nationality: Russian. Born: Kiev, 13 June 1958. Education: Worked as stage-hand at the theatre in Kiev; graduated from Shchukin Theatre School, 1980. Family: Married. Career: Actor at the Vakhtangov Theatre and, since 1989, at the Theatre of Roman Viktiuk; performed in Masterclass (1989), M Butterfly (1990), Lolita (1993), and The Catapult (1993). Awards: Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, 1992; NIKA Award, for Best Actor, Russian Film Academy, for Makarov, 1994. Agent: MAKS, Larisa Isaeva, Tikhvinsky per. 10/12, k. 7, kv. 18, 103055 Moscow, Russia.
Films as Actor:
The Kids (Mal'va) (short); To Take Alive (Vziat' zhivym) (for TV) (as agent)
The Meeting (Zaveshchanie) (Gostiev) (as Major Ugarov in his youth)
The Life of Klim Samgin (Zhizn' Klima Samgina) (for TV) (as Dmitri Samgin)
The Devotee (Posviashchennyi) (Teptsov) (as Lyokha)
Chernov (Iurskii) (as Kostia Shliapin); Mother (Mat') (Panfilov) (as Gendarme)
The Children of Bitches (Sukiny deti) (Filatov) (as Boria Siniukhayev)
A Patriotic Comedy (Patrioticheskaia komediia) (Khotinenko) (as Ilyin); Moscow Parade (Prorva) (Dykhovichny) (as friend); Our American Boris (Nash amerikanskii Boria) (Bushmelev) (as Boris)
Makarov (Khotinenko) (as the poet Makarov); A Child by November (Rebenok k noiabriu) (Pavlovsky) (as Lyosha); The Little Men from Bolshevik Alley, or I Want Beer (Malen'kie chelovechki bol'shevistskogo pereulka, ili Khochu piva) (Maliukov) (as Gnome); Trotsky (Mariagin) (as Lev Sedov)
Round Dance (Khorovod) (Kuchinsky) (as the director of a local theatre)
The Black Veil (Chernaia vual') (Proshkin) (as Petr Sinev); A Play for a Passenger (P'esa dlia passazhira) (Abdrashitov) (as the conductor Oleg); Summer Folk (Letnie liudi) (Ursuliak) (as Basov); Rothschild's Violin (Cozarinsky) (as Shostakovich); "Trofim" (Balabanov) in Arrival of a Train (Pribytie poezda) (as Trofim)
"Boiler House No. 6" ("Kotel'naia No. 6") in Three Stories (Tri istorii) (Muratova) (as Zhenia)
He Did Not Tie Up His Shoelaces (On ne zaviazyval shnurki) (Chernykh) (as Stasik)
Of Freaks and Men (Pro urodov i liudei) (Balabanov) (as Johann); Menage a trois (Retro v troem) (Petr Todorovsky)
The Captain's Daughter (Russkiy bunt) (Proshkin) (as Shvabrin); The Brother 2 (Brat 2) (Balabanov) (as Valentin Edgarovich)
On MAKOVETSKI: articles—
Moskvina, Tat'iana, "Gospodin nikto: neskol'ko slov v chest' aktera Sergeia Makovetskogo," in Seans (St. Petersburg), no. 16, 1997.
Gorfunkel', Elena, "Prostodushnyi," in Seans (St. Petersburg), no. 16, 1997.
* * *
Sergei Makovetski is first and foremost known for his work in the theatre, which includes numerous parts under the director Roman Viktiuk. He gave an exquisite interpretation of Gallimard in M Butterfly, who has finally found love and discovers that the woman he loves—a singer of the Chinese opera—is, in fact, a man. His performance as the young Ilya who discovers his homosexuality and lives in a split reality in The Catapult continues the gender issue which can be traced through all the productions of Viktiuk. Makovetski has also a permanent engagement at one of Moscow's leading theatres, the Vakhtangov Theatre, where he has appeared as Shostakovich in Pownell's Master Class, directed by Viktiuk. He also played this part in the film Rothschild's Violin. In addition, he has offered a splendid interpretation of Kovrin in Kama Ginkas's production of Chekhov's The Black Monk at the Moscow Theatre of the Young Spectator, and has worked with the very popular director Vladimir Mirzoev.
It is noteworthy that Makovetski's work in the theatre highlights a characteristic of his roles in the cinema: the ambiguity of character. Makovetski plays the man who is in love with another man (Ilya, Gallimard); he plays the artist torn between dissidence and loyalty to the system (Shostakovich); or he plays the man who wants to create and destroy happiness (Kovrin).
In film, Makovetski has been cast, from early in his career, by highly renowned directors of Russian cinema: Gleb Panfilov, Vladimir Khotinenko, Kira Muratova, Alexei Balabanov, and Vadim Abdrashitov. His breakthrough in film, though, came only with Khotinenko's Makarov. One night the poet Alexander Sergeevich—not Pushkin, but Makarov—returns home, having bought a Makarov pistol. The pistol changes the poet's life, depriving him of friends, family, and his muse. Makovetski excels in his psychological portrayal of an intellectual who perceives his everyday life as meaningless, and who develops a relationship with the object that gradually assumes control over his life. Makarov's inner turmoil is rendered through the film's images, while Makovetski's face remains straight: none of his fears and desires are reflected in his appearance.
In Abdrashitov's Play for a Passenger Makovetski creates the character of Oleg Kapustin, another secretive figure who hides more of his inner life than he shows, and whose conduct appears almost automated. In one of the novellas of Muratova's Three Stories Makovetski plays the killer Zhenia who has just murdered his neighbor after some trivial argument and who tries to dispose of the body in a boiler house. While the workers are shocked at the crime, Zhenia himself is unmoved: even his face does not twitch. Yet his capacity for facial expression is superbly demonstrated in the first scene of the film, where Zhenia imitates the grimaces of animals he observes in a zoo. Makovetski's strength lies in his facial expression, which can hide the most revolting crime while being able to imitate any twitch.
In Balabanov's Of Freaks and Men Makovetski played the character of Johann, a criminal who, released from prison, exploits his sister and a photographer to produce and sell photos of women being flagellated. Behind a straight face and immaculate behaviour he hides his immorality. Set at the turn of the last century, the film comments on the nature of the camera.
There is no common denominator in the roles chosen by Makovetski; this lies rather in the way in which Makovetski acts: his self is hardly ever present in the role, it is annihilated behind the character. Makovetski is, in the words of the critic Tatiana Moskvina, a "nobody" who can take on any role. His facial mask hides his psychological and emotional experiences and gives the character an enigmatic and mysterious appearance.