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Oleg Vidov Celebrates His Life in Film

Oleg Vidov Celebrates His Life in Film

We salute our dear friends of many years Oleg and Joan on Oleg’s birthday. He is one of the major figures in world cinema and is involved now in an exciting documentary on Tarkovsky, the great Russian director.
Oleg Vidov, known as the Russian Robert Redford, celebrated his 70th birthday last week in Moscow during a primetime TV special on Russia’s First Channel, hosted by Andrei Malakhov.   He has appeared in 50 films since 1961, some of them the most popular Soviet films ever made.  They are still regularly broadcast on Russian television today. His U.S. credits include “Red Heat,” “Wild Orchid,” and “Thirteen Days.”

Oleg now lives in Malibu with Joan Borsten, his wife of 28 years. They met in Rome in 1985, when he defected, the first major Soviet actor ever to leave the USSR for the United States.  At that time Joan was writing for the LA Times entertainment section. They were introduced by Richard Harrison, an American actor living and working in Rome (with over 120 film credits to his name) who personally took Oleg to the US Embassy to apply for political asylum.  28 years later, Richard and Francesca, now Malibu residents, hosted Oleg’s U.S. birthday celebration.

Even at 70, there is no rest for Oleg as his current film is being the voice of the revered Russian Director Andrei Tarkovsky in a documentary called Time Within Time, based on Tarkovsky’s diary, and directed by PJ Letofsky. Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is one of the top 10 Directors of all time (, and #1 in Russia.

Tarkovsky was the first person Oleg called when he himself arrived in Rome in 1985. Tarkovsky had defected 2 years earlier and was living in Italy. PJ approached Oleg early on to be the ‘voice’ for the project, but didn’t know the extent of Oleg’s relationship with Tarkovsky. Although they had different roles in the Soviet film world, they knew each other, and Oleg was mentioned  in the diary.

PJ said, ‘When we started recording the narration, it was immediately obvious that this was very personal for Oleg. He knew all the  people in the diary, and all the struggles working in that system. We would take breaks during the recording and you could see Oleg going back in his mind, telling me stories how he planned his escape from the Soviet Union’…

Time Within Time is a very compelling story of its day- of international film, art, politics with a real life cast of characters including Michaelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra, Andrei Konchalovsky, Ingmar Bergman, to name a few. 

‘By using Tarkovsky’s diary, his words, it’s almost like he wrote the script for me’ says Letofsky.

Tarkovsky- Time Within Time is in the finishing stages. For more information visit or contact PJ Letofsky at pjletofsky[a]

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