Is Valentin Trifonov in the Tetris Movie a real person?

By Louie Fecou
Published: April 26, 2023 (Last updated: April 27, 2023)

Is Valentin Trifonov, in the Tetris Movie, a real person? We discuss a key character from the Apple TV+ movie. This article contains spoilers.

Tetris, from Apple TV+, tells the fictionalized account of the incredibly famous and addictive video game that would take the world by storm. The film was directed by Jon S. Baird and written by Noah Pink, starring Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, Sofia Lebedeva, Anthony Boyle, Toby Jones, and Roger Allam.

Although it is based on true events around the race to license and patent the video game in the late 1980s, the writer has admitted that he would use creative license to make the film more entertaining for viewers.

This practice is widespread when writers and filmmakers are working with material that may be considered too dry for a film project.

If you want the facts, then watch a documentary. These films are designed to invest you in the story and entertain you.

So when it comes to characters, there can often be amalgamations of real people or even just characters created to help drive the narrative forward.

Tetris is such a production, with a heady mix of reality and fantasy, leading viewers to wonder about what is fact-based and what has been given license. With all that in mind, this angularly perfect article asks the question, is Valentin Trifonov in the Tetris movie a real person?

Who is Valentin Trifonov in Tetris?

Valentin, in the film, is a member of the Central Committee and is affiliated with the Communist Party. When he sees that government employees are obsessed with playing the game rather than working, he has the game blocked from all the government systems. Sort of like TikTok today.

He wants to know more about the game, aware of its popularity, so he can also get a share of its money.

Is Valentin Trifonov in the Tetris Movie a real politician?

The character may have been based on a real person, but he would not play the role that he does in the film, as he was from a different era of Soviet history. A real person named Valentin Trifonov was a high-level Soviet politician, but his role in the Tetris movie was really to add some espionage-style tropes to the screenplay.

An interview with the film’s writer, Noah Pink, would clarify this point. Noah would say, “We are not doing this documentary version (of the Tetris story),” then would further explain, “…You know, to make a two-hour version of it, you need to sort of Hollywood-ize, if that’s a word.”

Who could have Valentin Trifonov been inspired from?

Valentin Trifonov was inspired by the real-life Soviet politician, born in September 1888 of the same name.

His death on 15 March 1938 means that the Bolshevik activist and one of the leaders of Cossack revolutionary forces who played a major role in the establishment of Soviet rule in the Don Voisko Province would not have been involved in the Tetris scenario.

So it seems that the character of Valentin was included to provide some dramatic antagonist within the screenplay, based on a real character, but just not part of this specific adventure.

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