Barskaya, Margarita A. (d. 1938)

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Barskaya, Margarita A. (d. 1938)

Soviet actress, scenarist, and filmmaker. Name variations: Barskaia. Date of birth unknown; died in 1938 in a Soviet gulag; married Petr Chardynin (a director). Filmography as a director: Torn Boots (1936) and Father and Son (1937).

Margarita Barskaya gained her reputation as an actress in pre-revolutionary Russia. Along with her husband, director Petr Chardynin, the two had successful careers that managed to span the chaotic days during and after the Bolshevik takeover. Barskaya's major contribution came as one of the pioneers in children's films. In 1930, she opened the Laboratory for Children's Cinema and eventually directed the enormously successful Torn Boots. A landmark in Soviet film history, Torn Boots was the first realistic movie geared toward a young audience.

In 1937, Barskaya directed Father and Son. The film concerned the relationship between the overseer of a major factory and his 13-year-old son. Though a good Bolshevik, the overseer finds himself so busy with work and party activities, he ignores the boy who falls in with a rough crowd. When the father renounces his own behavior, he and his son are happily reunited. To Barskaya's escalating horror, authorities were outraged, and Soviet censors considered the film to be unsuitable for public exhibition. One reviewer called it a "slander against Soviet reality." Even the film studio, Soyuzdetfilm, was attacked for allowing the film to be made. Barskaya was arrested and sent to a concentration camp where she died in 1938.


Kenez, Peter. Cinema and Soviet Society 1917–1953. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Deborah Jones , Studio City, California