This programme of two films by Kira Muratova, THE ASTHENIC SYNDROME (07 JUN) & THE LONG FAREWELL (14 JUN), will raise funds for Ukraine humanitarian aid & the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre in Kyiv.
Submitted by Oliver Dickens
The Russian invasion has disrupted funding, making it not only impossible for the Dovzhenko Centre to cover basic costs such as utilities or to continue its regular activities, but also to pay its staff’s salaries. Proceeds from this screening will be split between the Dovzhenko Centre and Ukraine humanitarian aid.
Kira Muratova (1934-2018) was one of the most suppressed (and most transgressive) filmmakers of the Soviet era. She graduated from the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, before moving to Odessa, Ukraine where she would make most of her films.
“A distraught widow who has just buried her husband is about to destroy everything and everybody, but mainly herself. An exhausted man tries to find an escape from his daily chaos and routine in perpetual sleep. While their paths don’t really cross, the film implies they both suffer from the titular syndrome—a weakness, enervation, fatigue that is equally concrete and allegorical.
Muratova’s most celebrated film, the epic THE ASTHENIC SYNDROME was winner of the Silver Bear at the 1990 Berlinale and brought her international acclaim. The film has been called a magnificent fresco and an apocalypse. Muratova created vivid images of desperate characters determined to endure, capturing and divining the state of the USSR on the eve of its collapse. A searing portrait of individual malaise and collective apathy, with polyphonic elements and absurdist tableaus, the film stuns the viewer with shock therapy, destroying every illusion.” – Elena Gorfinkel
Ostensibly the story of the strained relationship between a divorced translator and her teenaged son, who would rather live with his father in Siberia, THE LONG FAREWELL’s “almost unbearable tension… is explored in a series of fluid, inventive sequences, which … show Muratova [to be] streets ahead of her male contemporaries” (Ian Christie).
Completed in 1971 and promptly shelved by censors for sixteen years, Muratova’s important early feature, scripted by prominent feminist Natalya Ryazantseva, was deemed too aesthetic, personal and elitist by Soviet authorities and got her disqualified from directing at Odessa Film Studio. Heralded as a lost masterpiece when finally released in 1987, this simple tale of maternal jealousy and filial rebellion is transformed by Muratova into a thrillingly odd drama full of visual sophistication, exquisite camerawork, and quietly stunning piano score by Oleg Karavaichuk.
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