Kira Muratova

Kira Muratova was born in 1934 in Bessarabia (present-day Moldova). After studying philology at Moscow State University, she enrolled at the State Filmmaking Institute (VGIK), where her teachers included legendary Soviet director Sergei Gerasimov (now the namesake of the Institute). She graduated in 1959, and since 1961 has worked out of the Odessa Film Studio. Muratova's unmistakable style and her penchant for "small" themes of humanitarianism and emotional relationships emerged in her earliest films. Her two early masterpieces, Brief Encounters (1967) and Long Goodbyes (1971)-which date from a time when Soviet cultural production was being transformed by the shift from the relatively liberal, experimental Thaw period to an era of renewed ideological control by the state-were shelved by the censor until 1987 due to their intensely personal, "non-civic-minded" themes and their auteur formal features. Between 1971 and the onset of perestroika in the mid-1980s, Muratova was able to make only two films, one of which (1983's Among the Grey Stones) was tampered with to such a degree that she refused to include her name in the credits. With the end of censorship, Muratova quickly won renown at home and abroad, as one of the undiscovered classics of the Soviet 60s and 70s and a leading figure in contemporary art cinema. Her artistic vision has remained intact in her post-perestoika works, all of which have earned awards both in Russia and at international festivals.

Three Stories [Три истории] 1997

Russia/Ukraine. NTV-Profit. Color. 105 min. Directed by Kira Muratova. Cinematography by Gennadii Kariuk. Art direction by Evgenii Golubenko. Edited by Valentina Oleinik. Produced by Igor' Tolstunov.

  1. "Boiler-House No. 6"
    Written by Igor' Bozhko, with assistance from Evgenii Golubenko.
    With Sergei Makovetskii, Leonid Kushnir, and Jean Daniel
  2. "Ophelia"
    Written by Renata Litvinova.
    With Renata Litvinova, Natal'ia Buz'ko, and Ivan Okhlobystin
  3. "The Little Girl and Death"
    Written by Vera Storozheva, with assistance from Kira Muratova.
    With Oleg Tabakov and Lilia Murlykina

On the surface, Kira Muratova's Three Stories is a harsh, cruel, unjust film: three variations on the theme of the total dismemberment, degradation, and degeneracy of Homo sapiens... The enigma, however, is that this absolutely deconstructivist take on reality is cast in a strikingly harmonious, balanced, aesthetically complete form. However you analyze it, the film evinces an utter deliberateness at every turn-each frame, word, sound, patch of color, intonation... Everything is connected to everything else, and the longer you scrutinize this crystalline lattice-work of a film, the more meanings and ideas emerge. Against the background of the complete aesthetic collapse of post-Soviet cinema, such an artistic accomplishment seems almost a miracle. -Natal'ia Sirivlia, Entsiklopediia kino

Director Filmography

1965 Our Honestly Earned Bread (co-directed with Aleksandr Muratov)
1967 Brief Encounters (released in 1987)
1971 Long Goodbyes (released in 1987)
1978 Getting to Know the Great Wide World
1983 Among the Grey Stones (director listed as Sidorov)
1987 A Change of Fortune
1989 The Asthenic Syndrome
1992 The Sentimental Policeman
1994 Passions
1997 Three Stories
1999 Letter to America (short)

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