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The Childhood of Maxim Gorky (Detstvo Gorkovo) was the first of Russian director Mark Donski's trilogy based upon Gorky's memoirs. Alexei Lyarsky plays the young Maxim, who grows up under the czarist regime with his grandparents as guardians. Continually demeaned by his martinet grandfather, Maxim is drawn to his warm-hearted grandmother (Varvara Massalitinova), who instills in him the willingness to pursue his writing muse. Gorky's (and Donski's) deep abiding love for Russia is conveyed through the film's remarkably romanticist landscape shots along the Volga River, which cry out for Technicolor. The Childhood of Maxim Gorky was followed over the next two years by My Apprenticeship (aka Out in the World), which detailed Gorky's life as a ship's cook and erstwhile painter, and My Universities.