How the film "Autumn Marathon" was filmed

"The woeful life of a rogue" was the title of the script by Alexander Volodin about a difficult stage in the fate of the translator from English Andrei Pavlovich Buzykin. He is going through a midlife crisis, wants to do a lot, but is constantly late. He got a young mistress, but he is afraid of offending his wife. He himself does not always submit translations to the editorial office on time, but he helps his classmate Varvara and colleague from Denmark Bill Hansen in their work. In a word, a vicious circle from which you just can't break out.

Volodin proposed a script for Mosfilm, but for some reason none of the directors was in no hurry to start filming. The scriptwriter himself argued that the plot is autobiographical, he himself had a chance to experience something similar, which means that the director should be with similar experience, and not a young debutant. Perhaps the script would have been on the shelf for many years if it had not been read by Georgy Danelia.

The venerable director liked the script, but one thing stopped him - among the filmmakers, Volodin was considered an uncompromising author who did not agree to any changes in his own script. Suddenly, Danelia and Volodin found a common language, and work on the film began. Even though the script had to be made significant changes. Even the title of the film changed. "The woeful life of a rogue" is not at all the same. What is Buzykin a rogue? Rather, he is a person who cannot understand himself, therefore, he makes those who are nearby suffer.

The Autumn Marathon is a completely different matter. Buzykin is not old yet, he may well be called a "marathon runner", but already "autumn", whatever one may say, and his age is well over forty. It was on this name that we stopped. It remains to select the actors.

The main contender for the role of Buzykin was Alexander Kalyagin. But at that time he was busy in the theater, and the director himself was not sure that he should play the main role. We considered several more candidates: Leonid Kuravlev, Nikolai Gubenko, Stanislav Lyubshin. But, something stopped the director from making the final choice. Director's assistant Elena Sudakova saw Oleg Basilashvili in the role of Buzykin, even invited him to audition, without notifying Danelia in advance. But Basilashvili did not seem convincing either. Nevertheless, the director decided to bring him home in his car, and when the actor, getting out of the car, began to uncertainly cross the road, Danelia realized that this is Buzykin. True, at that time he did not yet know that feigned stoop and indecision were the secret plan of Basilashvili and Sudakova.

The picture "Autumn Marathon" cannot be imagined without the colorful figure of Professor Hansen from Denmark. True, the German Norbert Kuchinke played the Dane, and he was not an actor, but a journalist, and had never acted in films before. But, the problems were not only this, it was necessary to obtain many permits to shoot a foreigner in a Soviet film. They sent documents to the State Film Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the KGB. Time passed, but there was no answer. Then Danelia decided to shoot Kuhinka at his own peril and risk. The journalist was promised that they would take him away from his immediate duties for no more than 10 days, but he spent a whole month on the set.

The role of the young lover of the protagonist went to Marina Neyelova, it was her Danelia who originally planned for the role of Alla. The director approved his good friend Galina Volchek for the role of Varvara, a former classmate of Buzykin. And in the image of the wife of Andrei Pavlovich himself, Natalya Gundareva appeared before the audience. She so often tried to make her own amendments to the script that Danelia advised the actress to take up directing herself.

Evgeny Pavlovich Leonov was often called the "talisman" of Danelia's films. Rare of his paintings did without participation

this legendary actor. Initially, Evgeny Pavlovich was supposed to play the role of Alla's neighbor in a communal apartment, but the director decided that Kharitonov, Buzykin's acquaintance, a plumber and a big drinker, would be more suitable for Leonov. Some of his phrases quickly spread throughout the country. For example: "The toast drinks to the bottom" or "A total of 150 - pure formality."

One of the main questions that worried the commission when viewing the film: "Where are Buzykin and Hansen running in the last frames of the film?" It seemed to some that Andrei Pavlovich, tired of the endless "marathon", decided to flee to the homeland of his friend Hansen - to Denmark. Moreover, he is not dressed in a tracksuit, but in a shirt with a tie and trousers. And in general, the ending of the film was somehow incomprehensible, the main character, leading an immoral lifestyle, was never punished.

But, the film was released, in January 1980 it appeared on the screens. Already during the first year, "Autumn Marathon" has collected many prizes at various film festivals. he was even planned to be nominated for the prestigious Oscar, but the war began in Afghanistan, therefore, relations between the Soviet Union and the West were strained again.