Kira Muratova

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Kira Muratova

#1 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:28 pm

Kira Muratova (1934-2018)

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Filmography as Director

On The Steep Cliff (aka The She Wolf) (1963) (Student film co-directed with Aleksandr Muratov)

Our Honest Bread (1964)

Brief Encounters (1967)

Long Goodbyes (1971) (not released until 1987)

Russia (1972) (Documentary co-directed with Theodore Holcomb)

Getting To Know The Whole Wide World (1978)

Among Grey Stones (1983) (disowned; credited to "Ivan Sidorov")

Change Of Fortune (aka Destiny) (1987)

The Asthenic Syndrome (1989)

The Sentimental Policeman (1992)

Passions (aka Enthusiasms; Petty Passions) (1994) - Image R1

Three Stories (1997)

Letter To America (1999) (Short)

Second Class Citizens (2001)

Chekhov's Motives (Chekhovian Motives) (2002)

The Tuner (2004)

Spravka (2005) (Short)

Two In One (2007)

Melody For A Street Organ (2009)


Web Resources

Films:

Overview of Muratova's career from Senses of Cinema

Chris Fujiwara on a 2005 Muratova retrospective

Jonathan Rosenbaum on Muratova's career

Jonathan Rosenbaum on The Asthenic Syndrome

Rosenbaum capsule reviews for Getting To Know The Big Wide World, Brief Encounters, Passions, Three Stories and Chekhov's Motives

Review of Three Stories from the Dispatches from Zembla blog

2002 interview with Muratova

Strictly Film School on The Tuner

Keith Uhlich on Two In One

d+kaz review of Two In One

Books

Kira Muratova: The Filmmaker's Companion by Jane Taubman
Last edited by colinr0380 on Fri May 27, 2016 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#2 Post by zedz » Sat Sep 20, 2008 10:27 pm

Oh, well done! Muratova is a tragically underrated / underacknowledged master, and one of the most idiosyncratic filmmakers on the planet. Her post-Asthenic Syndrome output is as cranky and individualistic in its own way as Paradzhanov's had been.

I was thinking about Brief Encounters recently while watching Wings. Shepitko's film is great, but Muratova's hits many of the same marks in a much more exciting and provocative manner, enfolding the proto-feminism and social commentary in a dazzling pre-Roeg associative flashback structure. Plus you get the frisson of real-life dissident Vladimir Vissotsky playing, basically, himself (a Dylanesque figure that the Soviet authorities just have to shut down). A great, great film that I hope somebody gets out on disc soon.

There are a lot of her films I haven't seen (and from what I've heard they're often more ordinary than the ones I have), but the latter-day Three Stories is some kind of masterpiece. It's three ultra-black comedies in three wildly different styles (but all with undercurrents of Muratovian mania and absurdism). The first story has a stunning 'reveal' that's one of the most audacious montage effects of the last several decades, a single action compulsively, convulsively repeated like a scab that itching fingers can't leave alone, almost as if the film itself is recoiling in horror where its protagonists cannot. It's a superb example of style alone completely transforming the meaning of a shot, an action, a film. The last story is the most subdued thing I've ever seen Muratova do and is masterful in a completely different register.

The dizzyingly extreme Chekhovian Motifs is hardcore Muratova and is available in a good transfer with English subs from Ruscico. People using this as their entry point to her oeuvre, however, need to be aware that they're stepping blindly into the deep end (take a deep breath), so approach with caution. I can at least promise you something unique!

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sidehacker
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:49 am
Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
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#3 Post by sidehacker » Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:07 pm

Chekhovian Motifs was my introduction into Muratova and I loved it. It's almost like a Bela Tarr parody that manages to maintain the aesthetic strengths but still poke plenty of fun at Mr. Tarr's ponderous sensibility. The "family dinner" scene is one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, and the rest of the film isn't far behind.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

#4 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:55 am

zedz wrote:I was thinking about Brief Encounters recently while watching Wings. Shepitko's film is great, but Muratova's hits many of the same marks in a much more exciting and provocative manner, enfolding the proto-feminism and social commentary in a dazzling pre-Roeg associative flashback structure. Plus you get the frisson of real-life dissident Vladimir Vissotsky playing, basically, himself (a Dylanesque figure that the Soviet authorities just have to shut down). A great, great film that I hope somebody gets out on disc soon.
Hopefully in a double bill with Long Goodbyes, which the above Senses of Cinema article suggests as being a companion piece to Brief Encounters.

One of my reasons for creating Muratova's listing is that I've only seen The Asthenic Syndrome from her works (like A Brighter Summer Day that opportunity came from near to the end of British television's 'golden period' in 1997 and I'm constantly glad I was taping films from TV during this time! The late night slot that Channel 4 used to screen 'World Cinema' films in has mostly been occupied for the last decade by live Big Brother coverage, ironically in light of the Muratova film a series which alternates between showing blazing, insulting behaviour, people getting drunk and sorrowful and people fast asleep!) and I wanted to do some research into what she had done before this and was still doing now. It was great to see that she has made many more films that I'd be fascinated to see, even if at the same time it is disappointing to note that only Passions is available on a non-Russian DVD (that I couldn't find any reviews of on the internet).

At the very least The Asthenic Syndrome should be available (like Edward Yang it would be great if this 'major' film was released as a full blown Criterion and then a number of her other films were brought out at around the same time in an Eclipse boxset as a companion - hint, hint!), but it looks as if even Kino aren't interested!

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#5 Post by zedz » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:16 pm

sidehacker wrote:Chekhovian Motifs was my introduction into Muratova and I loved it. It's almost like a Bela Tarr parody that manages to maintain the aesthetic strengths but still poke plenty of fun at Mr. Tarr's ponderous sensibility. The "family dinner" scene is one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, and the rest of the film isn't far behind.
I see the connection in sensibility, but Muratova was doing Tarr well before Tarr was, so I doubt it's any kind of parody. If you liked this film, very much in the same vein is The Sentimental Cop, which is like perestroika Beckett. I only ever managed to see it with Italian subs, at a time when my Italian was about as rudimentary as my Russian, but the obsessive, cyclical repetitions of actions and dialogue were so intensive that I had more than enough chance to get the gist in one language or the other.

Long Goodbyes is superb as well, but I've never quite got the pairing with Brief Encounters (though the matched titles make a pretty strong case for it). The films have a fair bit in common, but not really more or less than any other pair of Muratova films I've seen, and probably less than Brief Encounters and Wings. The film-within-a-film that opens (a bit of an understatement) The Asthenic Syndrome nods deliberately towards the look and feel of Long Goodbyes.

Yakushima
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:42 am
Location: US

Re: Kira Muratova

#6 Post by Yakushima » Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:40 pm

A new film by Kira Muratova, "Мелодия для шарманки" ("Melody for a Street Organ") premiered during 2009's Moscow's International Film Festival in June. It was warmly received by public and highly prized by some film critics (who favorably compared it to such Muratova's achievements as "The Tuner" and "Minor People"), but received only FIPRESCI award.
Muratova has yet again gathered in her new film many of her favorite actors, including Renata Litvinova, Georgiy Deliev and Nina Ruslanova.

Can't wait to see this!

Has anybody heard of any upcoming screenings of this film in the US?

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tartarlamb
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 1:53 am
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Kira Muratova

#7 Post by tartarlamb » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:51 pm

Chekhov's Motives is playing as part of an interesting series of Chekhov films at the Portland Art Museum in May, if you're in the area. After seeing The Asthenic Syndrome a few weeks ago, I'm frothing at the mouth (which means I'm excited to see more, not that I've contracted the ailment).

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Kira Muratova

#8 Post by colinr0380 » Wed May 12, 2010 12:08 pm

A very positive review of the Melody For A Street/Barrel Organ from the Giuviv Russian Film blog

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puxzkkx
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:33 am

Re: Kira Muratova

#9 Post by puxzkkx » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:17 am

Melody for a Street Organ is great, although some of the political metaphors are a bit heavy-handed. Still, her portrait of social bedlam is incredibly detailed, Boschian even.

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Kira Muratova

#10 Post by swo17 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:57 pm

For those who know where to look, Melody for a Street Organ recently became available with English subs. \:D/

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bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Kira Muratova

#11 Post by bottled spider » Fri May 27, 2016 12:16 am

I've long been intrigued by Muratova for her titles -- Chekhov's Motifs, The Asthenic Syndrome, Melody for a Street Organ -- and from seeing a brief clip of that last title in Mark Cousin's The Story of Children and Film. So I decided to get the apparently less well regarded Two in One simply for its availability. As far as the film itself goes, it's love at first sight, head over heels. Unfortunately the disc I got is faulty, so I didn't get far into it. It's this one from Amazon. The cover and the menus are in Cyrillic, except I can make out "Sota Cinema Group" and "RBC Video". Anybody else seen the movie? Anybody else familiar with this particular edition?

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