Filmmaker in Profile: Kira Muratova

Kira Muratova, a critically acclaimed titan of Russian-language cinema, made poetic, eccentric, astonishing films. Muratova’s brilliantly trenchant imagination spans across twenty-two works, produced between 1961–2012. BFMAF pays tribute to her vision and oeuvre with a posthumous retrospective.

Feature film 19th Sep · 12:00 (96 mins)

Brief Encounters

Kira Muratova

Kira Muratova’s first solo feature is a beautifully unfolding love triangle: a roaming geologist, played by cult folk singer Vladimir Vysotsky, the USSR’s equivalent of Bob Dylan; his wife Valentina who can't stand her work; and a woman who arrives at her doorstep, his lover, Nina Ruslanova in her first film role.

Feature film 20th Sep · 12:15 (97 mins)

The Long Farewell

Kira Muratova

Yevgeniya, a divorced mother, is very devoted to her only son, Sasha. When she lets him vacation with his father, he comes back a changed person and tells her that he does not want to live with her anymore, and wishes to move to Novosibirsk. As a portrait of a woman unravelled, this film forms a diptych with Brief Encounters. Both are shot in achingly poetic black-and-white. Both are about the nature of romance, even if it's a romance between mother and son, which Muratova proposes as a metaphor for any male-female relationship. Finally, both films are astonishing portraits of unconventional women, and the pain of yearning, impulsive, irrational loves.

Feature film 20th Sep · 19:30 (95 mins)

Letter to America

Kira Muratova

Two friends from Odessa try to compose a video message to their pals, emigrants to the United States. One of them rents his apartment to a devious girl who invents various excuses not to pay the rent. Letter to America is an exceptional story about “Chekhovian” characters on the verge of despair who nonetheless manage to enjoy life, even if these joys are beyond good and evil.

Feature film 20th Sep · 19:30 (95 mins)

Getting to Know the Big Wide World

Kira Muratova

Getting to Know the Big Wide World (1978), the chef d’oeuvre of the young Muratova, transforms a conventional love triangle (two men, one woman, all construction workers building a tractor factory) into a vividly elusive poem on the mystery of love.

Feature film 20th Sep · 19:30 (95 mins)

Getting to Know the Big Wide World

Kira Muratova

Getting to Know the Big Wide World, the chef d’oeuvre of the young Muratova, transforms a conventional love triangle (two men, one woman, all construction workers) into a vividly elusive poem on the origin and inexplicability of love. Through ordinary ‘Soviet’ characters she reveals expressive individuals, transforming the industrial construction site into a tender scene of unspoken tragedies.

Feature film 21st Sep · 11:00 (153 mins)

The Asthenic Syndrome

Kira Muratova

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.

Feature film 22nd Sep · 12:00 (112 mins)

Passions

Kira Muratova

Love affairs, horse races and male duels unfold at an isolated hippodrome by the sea inhabited by excessive, eccentric characters who strut and pose, fanatically declaim and obsess about their own ‘enthusiasms’. The film’s extravagant monologues were written and performed by the charismatic Renata Litvinova, whose screen presence channels equal parts Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow and the loquacious self-possession of a Warholian superstar. Litvinova, a professional screenwriter was discovered by Muratova, immediately becoming a member of her on-screen 'family', as well as a cult diva of the new Russian cinema.

Feature film 22nd Sep · 16:30 (114 mins)

Eternal Homecoming

Kira Muratova

A woman is paid a surprise visit by her long-forgotten classmate, who needs her advice: should he choose a wife or a lover? An outrageously burlesque mise-en-scène is repeated many times over, each in a different setting and performed by new actors. While the viewer doesn’t immediately recognise this, the scenes are screen tests with various actors. Towards the finale, Muratova employs a trick: the black-and-white images are disrupted and the film continues in colour. In the screening room, the producer and a potential investor, a sugar magnate, discuss the material of the uncompleted film. The director has died and there is no money to finish the movie. Muratova asked the big stars of Russian cinema and stage (including Renata Litvinova, Oleg Tabakov and Alla Demidova) as well as the amateur actors from her previous films to collaborate on Eternal Homecoming, exploring the possibilities of aesthetic transformations between past and present.