Five years on from her death, two of Ukrainian filmmaker Kira Muratova’s early works have been restored for Blu-ray by StudioCanal. The two films – 1967’s Brief Encounters and 1971’s The Long Farewell – showcase her style and work that has been described as possibly ‘one of the most distinctive and singular oeuvres of cinematic world-making’. Recent film critic Bianca Garner even goes so far as to say that Muratova’s work has – wrongly – been “largely ignored” in film studies courses or in discussions on “the greatest filmmakers of all time”. StudioCanal’s new must-own releases seek to remedy that, presenting two of her best films for rediscovery.
BRIEF ENCOUNTERS (1967) was the debut feature from Kira Muratova. It was here we saw the beginnings of Muratova’s impressionistic style, blending observational realism with new wave experimentation. Despite the continued censorship Muratova’s work received (Brief Encounters was banned for twenty years) she still managed to emerge as one of the leading figures in Ukraine and Russian cinema, building a very successful film career from the 1960s onwards due to her boundary pushing directorial approach and aesthetics. Brief Encounters tells the story of an intricate love triangle, connecting a city planner (played by Muratova herself), her free-spirited geologist husband (legendary Soviet protest singer Vladimir Vysotsky), and the young woman from the countryside (Nina Ruslanova) whom she hires as their housekeeper.
The Long Farewell
Filmed in 1971, Kira Muratova’s THE LONG FAREWELL was banned and shelved, not to be screened in Perestroika until 1987. Despite the continued censorship Muratova’s work received, she still managed to emerge as one of the leading figures in Ukrainian and Russian cinema, building a very successful film career from the 1960s onwards due to her boundary pushing directorial approach and aesthetics. THE LONG FAREWELL traces the rift that grows between an emotionally impulsive single mother (Zinaida Sharko) and her increasingly resentful teenage son (Oleg Vladimirsky), who destroys her world when he announces he wishes to live with his father.
BRIEF ENCOUNTERS and THE LONG FAREWELL are available on Blu-ray now from StudioCanal