Valentina is a young woman who has everything in life: husband, a good job, high social status. But this does not fill the void around her. Her husband – a geologist (Russian cult singer-songwriter Vladimir Vysotsky) – is always away, her work in public administration tedious, her apartment empty. When a young girl (Nina Ruslanova) arrives in town and falls in love with her husband, Valentina observes this with a mix of curiosity, compassion and detachment.
Muratova considers this film the real start of her turbulent artistic career. It indeed distinguishes her unique voice and vision. Both are based on paradoxes: the romanticism comes together with the disillusionment, the passionate tone turns into aloofness, and vice versa.
When the lead actress dropped out at the last minute, Muratova was forced to play the part of Valentina herself. She gave an impressive performance, but has never acted in films again. –IFFR
A fierecely independent filmmaker, Muratova’s career started during Kruschev’s thaw and is still going strong in the Putin era— with several tumultuous decades in between. After studying philosophy at Moscow State University, Muratova attended VGIK and graduated in 1959. She then began a long relationship with Odessa Film Studio that continues to this day. Her early masterpieces, Brief Encounters and A Long Goodbye, were influenced by the experimental trends of sixties cinema. Her novel approach to narrative— and to the Russian pastoral in particular—combined with a bleak, ambiguous, and deeply personal outlook, led to censorship by the Soviet authorities; A Long Goodbye didn’t receive an official release until glasnost in 1987. Outside of an occasional writing and acting opportunity, Muratova’s film career suffered a similar fate. But with glasnost and certainly in the decade since, she’s reclaimed her status as one of the great directors of her generation, and her recent films have… read more
Our second report from the 2013 festival, about films by Kira Muratova, Jean-Claude Brisseau, and David Gatten.