Deslaw, Eugene

Identity area

Type of entity

Person

Authorized form of name

Deslaw, Eugene

Parallel form(s) of name

  • Deslav, Ievhen

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Slabchenko, Ievhen

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1898-1966

History

Eugene Deslaw (real name Ievhen Slabchenko) was born on December 8, 1898 in the village of Tahancha, Tahancha volost, Kaniv povit, Kyiv gubernia, Russian Empire (currently Ukraine). Appointed to the post of Ukrainian diplomatic courier in Europe by the Directory of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) in 1920, he remained in Europe after the UNR diplomatic missions were disbanded. Deslaw spent the remainder of his life in Paris (1925-1939), Madrid (1939-1953), and Nice (1953-1966), where he became a prominent figure in the cultural life of the Ukrainian émigré community. He studied international law at the universities of Prague and Berlin and at the Sorbonne in Paris. In France he adopted a new name – Eugene Deslaw – and married a local woman. During the interwar years Deslaw became involved in French avant-garde cinema, making a notable contribution to the genre. He directed the following short films: La marche des machines (March of the machines, 1928), La nuit electrique (Electrical nights, 1929), Montparnasse (1931), Revelation (1948), and Vision Fantastique (Fantastic Vision, 1957). After the invention of the sound film in the late 1920s, Deslaw lost no time in experimenting with this technique in his movie Robots. A highlight in his career, came in 1938-1939, when the 1936 French feature film La Guerre des gosses (The Children’s War, a.k.a. Generals Without Buttons) directed by Jacques Daroy, with Deslaw as his assistant director, won the 1938 National Board of Review Top Foreign Language Film award and then launched New York City television's first International Film Festival. In the 1950s Deslaw began working on French television and ended his career there as an archivist.
Deslaw’s accomplishments extend beyond the sphere of filmmaking. He was very active in Western Europe as a propagandizer of things Ukrainian. During the war he became involved in the Ukrainian Red Cross to help Ukrainian refugees. After the war he continued helping Ukrainians in the DP camps by getting them jobs so that they could avoid deportation to the USSR. In the 1950s Deslaw began collecting Ukrainian materials and archives. In 1954 he compiled a Ukrainian film archive in Nice and organized a display of Ukrainian ceramics in Cannes. A decade later, in 1964, he completed a manuscript Dyplomatychna Istoriia Ukrainy (Diplomatic History of Ukraine). Unlike most Ukrainians who lived in the West after the revolution, Eugene Deslaw (Ievhen Slabchenko) made a name for himself outside Ukrainian circles. Deslaw died on September 10, 1966 in Nice, France.
For more information about Deslaw see Jaroslaw Zurowsky “Ievhen Deslav: A Forgotten Ukrainian Filmmaker” in Journal of Ukrainian Studies IX (2) (Winter 1984), 87-92.

Places

Place of Birth: Tahancha, Tahancha volost, Kaniv povit, Kyiv gubernia, Russian Empire (currently Ukraine)
Long Term Residence: Nice, Alpes-Maritimes department, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, France
Place of Death: Nice, Alpes-Maritimes department, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, France

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Ukrainian diplomatic courier in Europe by the Directory of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) in 1920.
Studied international law at the universities of Prague and Berlin and at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Film director in France, Spain. Worked on French television in 1950s.
1954: compiled a Ukrainian film archive in Nice.
1964: completed a manuscript Dyplomatychna Istoriia Ukrainy (Diplomatic History of Ukraine).
A prominent figure in the cultural life of the Ukrainian émigré community.

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area

Subject access points

Place access points

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

Deslaw_E

Institution identifier

UCECA

Rules and/or conventions used

Rules for Archival Description (RAD)

Status

Final

Level of detail

Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created March 2021

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

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