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The work of Gleb Panfilov stands above time, political changes and new artistic trends. He is one of the few directors who managed to sustain the integrity and individuality of form and content of his films during 40 years.

If it is possible to divide the work of Gleb Panfilov into stages, then two thematic periods become apparent. From the beginning of his career up until 1980s the director explores the relationship of a complex, unordinary protagonist with the outer world by means of creativity – Tanya Tetkina and her paintings in No Path though Fire (1967), Pasha Stroganova and her gift for acting in The Beginning (1970), the town mayor Elizaveta Uvarova in I wish to Speak (1975), an idealist, with at once a creative and a programmatic personality, and Kim Esenin who has lost his faith in the power of literary word in The Theme (1979). The screenplays for all of these films have been written and co-written by the director.

After 1980’s Panfilov turns to literary works for inspiration, and thereby defines a second period in his career – the adaptation of Russian literary classics. “It was while making The Theme, that I have sensed the limitations of working with contemporary material. The classics were a salvation”, says the director (Kinovedcheskie Zapiski, 1991, n.11)

Vassa(1983), Mother(1989), In the First Circle(2006), Guilty without Guilt (2008) – these film present to the viewer the cultural and historical legacy of the past, and thereby, invite the viewer to draw parallels between époques and think about the present.

Panfilov’s protagonists are all extraordinary people, and the encounter with them always has a profound effect on the viewer. It leads one onto contemplating and re-evaluating the relationship between people and the relationship with oneself.

However, one of the most important and unique qualities of the director is his ability to present the most complex, existential narratives with the stylistic flair and through the organic performances of his actors. This fact makes him one of the few directors who are equally praised by the critics and the filmgoers.

Panfilov’s personal approach to filmmaking is evident in all of his film. First of all, it is recognisable in the long-term creative alliance with the outstanding Russian actress, Inna Churikova, the muse of most of his films; secondly, it is evident in his authorial involvement in the screenplay, and finally in the consistent choice of collaborators – cinematographers, production and costume designers and composer.

Panfilov makes films out of his artistic and human beliefs. Each film created by Panfilov is a deeply personal work produced together with his family and collaborators.

And his recent 2008 film, Guilty without Guilt, once again proves that the family of Churikova-Panfilovs is one of the most noteworthy creative teams working in Russia today.