A very, very, very close person to me has passed away. Love for Alexandra Yakovleva will forever remain with me. It’s still hard for me to comprehend what happened. I understood that death was on the heels, but, knowing Sasha, I believed that she would definitely deceive her. Failed.
Ardent, furious, reckless, delightfully beautiful. Energy over the edge. Not a person, but a natural phenomenon, a typhoon. Being close to the raging elements is not so easy, but how interesting. We were very friendly. There used to be quarrels. But not for long, quickly reconciled. Sasha could call early in the morning: “Lebedev, where have you gone?” “We only talked to you at night. And you said that I…. “What difference does it make what I told you. We are friends!?” – “Friends”. “And friendship is a round-the-clock concept,” Sasha said, and as if there were no offenses. It was impossible not to adore her.
For the first time, I saw Alexandra Yakovlev in the film “The Crew” by Alexander Mitta. I came to the cinema, and her flight attendant Tamara completely shocked me. Like the vast majority of men in our country who have seen this picture, I fell in love with this amazing young girl once and for all. On the screen, the actress was tender, fragile and at the same time strong and deep.
A few days ago, I accidentally turned on the TV, which I haven’t watched for a long time, and the same “Crew” with Alexandra Yakovleva was on. I couldn’t tear myself away. So many years have passed, but the picture looks absolutely fresh, new, in one breath. And Alexandra Yakovleva, despite the fact that this was her first role, is not inferior to Georgy Zhzhenov, Leonid Filatov, Anatoly Vasilyev, Ekaterina Vasilyeva. She is amazing in this picture. For me, she is the main star in this constellation.
We talked with her more than once about the Crew. I confessed to her that for me this is one of my favorite paintings. And for her, it was the story of a life. After all, she got into the “Crew” by accident. She was invited to Mosfilm to audition for the Autumn Marathon. She flew from St. Petersburg to George Danelia, and he, looking at her, said to the assistants: “Have you seen Basilashvili? Have you seen Gundareva? So who did you bring me?” Yakovleva ran out into the corridor and began to cry. She did not fit the daughter of folk artists.
At this time, Alexander Mitta was walking along the corridor. He had a problem with the heroine in The Crew. And, after talking with Sasha, he approved her for the main role. By the way, Danelia Yakovleva still starred. Later he approved her in the film “Tears dripped.”
With what love she talked about filming with Mitta. When the scenes of the disaster in Bidri were filmed, it was difficult, it was cold, fires were burning around, and she was worn in a light uniform, and Leonid Filatov protected her from falling on sharp stones.
Sasha always spoke of her colleagues with great appreciation and warmth. She grieved that Filatov and Alexander Abdulov, with whom she starred in “Magicians”, passed away so early. She was grateful to Zhzhenov, who took care of the aspiring artist on the set. Andrey Mironov, her partner in The Man from Boulevard des Capucines, evoked admiration and admiration from her.
She was friends with Ivars Kalnins, with whom she starred in Paratroopers. In order to adequately fulfill her role in this picture, she learned to jump with a parachute.
I often think about her, how expressive she is on screen, how feminine. And the fact that she is an incredible beauty, and it is not necessary to say. It is obvious. Interesting actresses appeared, talented, but Alexandra Yakovleva was one of the unique ones. She created different characters, and there was always a personality on the screen. But she was only filming for 14 years. But she left a very bright mark in our cinema, created a galaxy of unforgettable roles. Alexandra Yakovleva is an irrefutable star. And at the same time, you won’t believe it, I wasn’t even a member of the Union of Cinematographers.
In the early 1990s, when all domestic cinema was covered, Alexandra Yakovleva left the profession. The one that was in demand every second, the one that did not have a minute to rest; the one that flew non-stop from one end of the country to the other, from filming to a concert, from a concert to a performance, suddenly turned out to be of no use to anyone. Sasha is not the kind of person who will sob at the window and lament about the heavy fate of the actor. She rushed into a completely different profession. And in the new life she changed her trajectory just as decisively. She became the vice-mayor of her native Kaliningrad. She organized the film festival “Amber Panther” in her homeland. Then she got to the Russian Railways, where she held an important position. She stood at the origins of the launch of the Sapsan and was very proud of her brainchild. And never stopped. She did not remember the cinema, she said that she was not interested in it. I think this is only partly true. The profession still attracted her. But at the same time she refused any offers.
When I started shooting my Crew, I really wanted that Tamara from Alexander Mitta’s favorite film to appear in my cinema. Yakovleva refused for a long time, once they already agreed to see each other, but then canceled the meeting. This is in the spirit of Sasha. But I am also stubborn, and therefore, nevertheless, our meeting took place … at the Leningradsky railway station. As soon as she stepped off the footboard of the carriage, I was overwhelmed by her energy. And also the fact that her beauty has not faded one iota. I’m happy that I still managed to convince her to withdraw. She graced the film and was an important link in the continuity of that classic Crew and the new one.
We wanted to work together more. Designed projects. But Sasha suddenly disappeared. Then she appeared, but I did not even recognize her. Energy has changed. Something was wrong with her. She didn’t remember what we were talking about. It turned out that she had a severe crisis. And the fact that Alexandra Yakovleva had oncology, I found out only six months later. She hid her health problems for a long time.
When Sasha herself found out about the diagnosis, the doctors gave her a month or two. And she answered them: “Well, no!” And started the fight. Found some experimental drugs. Doctors told her they were dangerous. I took double doses if that made any sense. She took risks – and always emerged victorious from the struggle. She continued to play in the theater, started a YouTube channel. And when we met, she always attracted me to record videos. Do not believe it, knowing about her fatal diagnosis, Alexandra Yakovleva began shooting her own picture. I dissuaded her: “Sasha, it’s so hard. Why?”. And she answered that it was very important for her, and until she made a film, she would not calm down. It was supposed to be a film where history and modernity, fantasy and reality were intertwined, in which Alexander Nevsky was one of the main characters. “You’ll see, it’s going to be an Oscar!” she triumphantly proclaimed, and I understood: it will be! With her energy and passion, you can take an Oscar.
She was very fond of Russia, Kaliningrad. I couldn’t imagine life without my land. Sasha wanted to show it to me and brought me to her homeland. We walked around Kaliningrad and Svetlogorsk. Sasha was incredibly hospitable. Organized sabantui with shish kebabs. She said she was writing a script. She planned to make a big romantic movie about Kaliningrad.
Her hair fell out after chemotherapy. No one believed in the seriousness of what was happening. She was accused of PR, they say, she shaved her head on purpose, wears wigs. And then she asked a friend to paint the skull with ornaments and flowers. And then, live in front of the camera, she took off her wig and showed this beauty. She smiled at all the offenders in the face, and she was very hurt. Sasha seemed very strong, but in fact she was fragile.
I would like to thank the Artist Foundation and personally Evgeny Mironov and Maria Mironova. They responded and helped with medicines, organized treatment and rehabilitation. We took on most of the costs. They do a great job helping colleagues who are in trouble. Sasha was very grateful to them. With Masha’s father Andrei Alexandrovich Mironov, she not only starred with Alla Surikova in the film “The Man from Capuchin Boulevard”, but was also friends. And she became friends with Masha at the end of her life’s journey. We contacted her as soon as it became known about what happened – for Masha Mironova, the departure of Yakovleva is also a great personal pain.
My condolences to the children of Alexandra Yakovleva Liza and Kondrat, grandchildren, her relatives, who were nearby. They gave her years of life. Sasha was the sun, and the members of the family lined up around the sun in the solar system. But the sun, as you know, is a star. And the stars don’t go out. They continue to give their light.
The light of a star named Alexandra Yakovleva will always be with us, I know this.
Author – director, laureate of State Prizes of the Russian Federation
The position of the editors may not coincide with the opinion of the author