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Admiral (2008 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Admiral (film) poster.jpg
Directed byAndrei Kravchuk
Written by
Based onLife of Alexander Kolchak
Produced by
Edited byTom Rolf
Music by
  • Gleb Matveychuk
  • Ruslan Muratov
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
  • October 9, 2008 (2008-10-09)
Running time
124 minutes

Admiral (Russian: Адмиралъ) is a 2008 biopic about Alexander Kolchak, a vice admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy and leader of the anti-communist White movement during the Russian Civil War. The film also depicts the love triangle between the Admiral, his wife, and a poetess Anna Timiryova.

An extended version of the movie was made into a 10-part TV mini-series which was shown by Channel One in 2009.[2]


During production of War and Peace at Mosfilm in 1964, an elderly Russian noblewoman is set to appear as an extra. The film's political commissar demands her dismissal, but director Sergei Bondarchuk is adamant she stays.

In the Baltic Sea, Captain Alexander Kolchak (Konstantin Khabensky)'s ship is laying naval mines in German territorial waters when he runs across SMS Friedrich Carl of the Imperial German Navy. Realizing that the enemy ship is blocking their escape, they must lure the Germans onto one of his mines. Kolchak leads his men in Russian Orthodox prayers for protection. Kolchak's vessel barely avoids hitting its own mines, while the German ship sinks.

At the naval base in the Grand Duchy of Finland and now promoted to rear admiral, Kolchak is introduced to Anna Timiryova (Elizaveta Boyarskaya), the wife of subordinate officer and close friend Captain Sergei Timirev. Although Sergei reminds his wife that they took vows before God, Anna is unmoved and wants nothing more than to be with the Admiral. Terrified of losing Kolchak, his wife Sofya (Anna Kovalchuk) offers to leave for Petrograd, but Kolchak is adamant of their marriage. However his attraction to Anna grows. When she delivers a letter to Kolchak he informs her that they can never meet, professing his love for her.

Later, Nicholas II (Nikolai Burlyayev) promotes him vice admiral to lead the Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol. After the February Revolution in 1917, Tsarist officers are disarmed and executed at the Kronstadt naval base. Sergei barely escapes with Anna. A group of enlisted men arrive aboard Kolchak's flotilla in Sevastopol and demand that all officers surrender their arms. Kolchak orders his subordinates to obey and throws his own sword into the harbor.

Kolchak is summoned to Petrograd by Alexander Kerensky (Viktor Verzhbitsky), who offers to appoint him Minister of Defense. Kolchak criticises Kerensky for promoting indiscipline in the new armed forces. He will only accept if he is given a free hand to restore old practices. Enraged by "counter-revolutionary sympathies", Kerensky offers him exile in the United States, on the reason that the Allies need him as an expert to take Constantinople" by naval attack. Shortly after, his wife and son are rescued from their home in the Crimea and whisked away to a British ship, just before the house is attacked by red guards.

In late 1918, Anna and Sergei Timiriov are travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway when she learns Kolchak is setting up an army in Omsk, western Siberia. Sergei is dismayed when Anna announces that she is leaving him. After hearing Kolchak's speeches to his troops about "restoring Russia", Anna goes to work as a nurse in the Russian Civil War. Kolchak learns the Red Army is advancing on Omsk, assisted by sympathizers behind White lines. Although his advisers suggest defending Omsk, Kolchak decrees that they will instead evacuate and seize Irkutsk as the new capital of anti-communist Russia.

During the evacuation, Anna is recognized by a White officer who informs Kolchak; they meet and he vows never leave her again, explaining he has asked Sofya for divorce. He proposes to Anna, but she insists that there is no need of marriage. Eventually, she relents and they are seen attending the Divine Liturgy together.

Meanwhile, Irkutsk is under the nominal control of the French General Maurice Janin and the Czechoslovak Legion. With their defenses disintegrating, the Red Army offers a way out alive. As a result, General Janin agrees to hand over Admiral Kolchak. Kolchak's ally General Vladimir Kappel leads an army to relieve Irkutsk. Due to a navigation error, Kappel and his troops try cutting across a frozen river; however, he falls through the ice and injures himself. Kolchak and Anna are arrested by the Czechs and handed over to the Reds. Kappel's army eventually reaches the outskirts of Irkutsk just in time to rescue Kolchak, but fails.

Kolchak is put on trial by the Irkutsk soviet and executed with his former Prime Minister along the banks of the frozen Angara River. His last words are, "Send word to my wife in Paris that I bless our son". Their bodies are dumped into an opening in the ice, hewn up by the local Orthodox clergy for the Great Blessing of Waters on Theophany.


  • Anna was arrested numerous times following Kolchak's execution and survived nearly 40 years in the Gulag before her release in 1960. She died in Moscow in January 1975, aged 81.
  • Anna's former husband, Sergei Timirev, became a rear admiral commanding the White Russian Navy in Siberia before fleeing to China, where he captained Chinese steamers. He settled in Shanghai's White Russian community, where he died in 1932.
  • Sophya Kolchak, the Admiral's wife joined her son in exile in Paris. She died in the Longjumeau Hospital in 1956.
  • Rostislav Kolchak, the Admiral's son, fought with the Free French Forces during the Second World War. He died in Paris in 1965.



According to director Andrei Kravchuk, "[The film is] about a man who tries to create history, to take an active part in history, as he gets caught in the turmoil. However, he keeps on struggling, he preserves his honour and his dignity, and he continues to love."[3]

Actress Elizaveta Boyarskaya said of her character, "She was a woman of such force, of such will, with such magnanimity... I feel an amazing resemblance to her... When I read script, I was even a bit scared: because she has the same vision of history as me. All that can arrive at is me. And when I played Anna, I did not play, I was her. It is my epoch, my attitude regarding love."[This quote needs a citation]

After being asked about the film Doctor Zhivago, she stated, "The only thing that these two films share consists in the love which the Russian women can carry; it is a topic approached by many novels. They love up to the last drop of blood, till the most dreadful end, to the death; they are capable of leaving family and children for the love of the man which they have chosen."[This quote needs a citation]


The film had 210 shooting days. Work on the picture took four years. Principal photography lasted for a year-and-half with a two to three-month break.[4] Locations included Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sevastopol, Torzhok and Irkutsk.[5] The twelve-minute battle scene took a month to shoot.[5] Twenty-four thousand CGI shots were incorporated into the film.[5] Khabensky had to wear an orthopedic corset due to poor posture.[6]

Release and reception

The first screening of the film took place on October 9, 2008.[7] Reception of the movie by Russian critics was mixed.[8]

Because Kolchak had been portrayed as a villain in Soviet historiography, the film encountered some controversy in Russia due to its reversal of roles. In the United States, Leslie Felperin of Variety wrote: "Strictly as a film, however, Admiral is entertaining enough in a retro Doctor Zhivago/War and Peace sort of way, with its big setpieces, lavish costumes and string-laden orchestral score. For all intents and purposes, pic reps a virtual mirror image of those old patriotic Soviet-era movies wherein the Reds were the heroes and the White Army the baddies."[9]



The main original song for the film, "Anna", is performed by Russian singer Victoria Dayneko and composed by Igor Matvienko. The poem itself was written by Anna Timireva in memory of the Admiral. "Vopreki" ("Despite") was written by Konstantin Meladze and performed by Valery Meladze.


  1. ^ "АДМИРАЛЪ". kinobusiness.
  2. ^ "Сериал "Адмиралъ": Жил отважный капитан..." Komsomolskaya Pravda.
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ "Адмиралъ". VokrugTV.
  5. ^ a b c ""Адмиралъ": бой, который на экране длится 12 минут, снимали месяц". RIA Novosti.
  6. ^ "Почему Константину Хабенскому пришлось танцевать в корсете". 7days.
  7. ^ "В Москве состоялся предпремьерный показ исторического фильма "Адмиралъ"". Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
  8. ^ "Рецензии на фильм Адмиралъ (2008), отзывы". Kritikanstvo.
  9. ^ Felperin, Leslie (2009-02-10). "Review: 'The Admiral'". Variety. Retrieved 2015-11-27.
  10. ^ ""Адмиралъ" стал триумфатором MTV Russia Movie Awards".
  11. ^ "Хабенский поймал "Золотого орла"". Komsomolskaya Pravda.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 January 2022, at 04:38
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