A LONG FAREWELL

Dolgie Provody

 (Kira Murotova, USSR, 1971) 95 minutes

A LONG FAREWELL

Director: Kira Muratova
Production: Odessa Kinostudio
Screenplay: Kira Muratova, Natalya Ryazantseva
Photography: Ghenady Kariuk
Editor: Valentina Oleinik
Music: Oleg Karavaichuk
Zenaida Sharko (Yevgenia)
Oleg Vladimirski (Her Son)
Yuri Kayourov
Svetlana Kabanova
Tatiana Tetchko
Lydia Vasilevska

Reviews and notes

This is the long goodbye which occurs when a young man leaves the home he shares with his mother to live with his father who left them years earlier. There are similarities to Brief Encounters, but in this film made four years later, the characters are much less in control of their feelings. Muratova?s boldness here in laying bare the complexity of a painful situation and her brilliance in evoking visual correlatives for the psychological states she describes is breathtaking. The power and insight with which Muratova - and her actors - express these two characters has a personal, visceral impact on audiences. Those who can accept the intensity of this brilliant film may be thrilled by its persuasiveness: it's notable how often men in an audience will empathise with the unhappy woman; and women with the uneasy young man.
- Bill Gosden, Wellington Film Festival, 1991


Muratova's second film, with a script by leading feminist Natalya Ryazantseva, must be counted as one of the major casualties of bureaucratic censorship during the 'era of stagnation' - and it is now a remarkable find. From the opening scenes where we see the edgy relationship between a woman no longer young and her teenage son expressed visually, it is clear that this film will probe relationships rarely treated in depth in Soviet cinema. Yevgenia is struggling, like many Soviet women, to hold down a job (she's an interpreter) and hold onto her increasingly restive son. The father is far away in Siberia and is idealized by the son, who wants to join him. Yevgenia knows that the harder she tries to hold on, the more she alienates the boy.

This almost unbearable tension is explored in a series of fluid, inventive sequences which bring a visual sophistication - with acting and music to match - quite exceptional in the often heavy-handed social issues department of Soviet filmmaking. The apartment they share with its territorial placing of furniture, the boy's use of a slide projector to create his own fantasy world, and the climactic workers' concert-party - all these show Muratova streets ahead of her (male) contemporaries. A major discovery.
- Ian Christie, Toronto Film Festival,1988

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