Kira Muratova “Eternal Homecoming”

Legendary director Kira Muratova’s most recent film, “Eternal Homecoming” («Вечное возвращение», Ukraine 2012, 108 mins) will be screened in Cambridge.

Friday, 19th September 2014, at 7:30pm
The Main Lecture Theatre of the Old Divinity School, St. John’s College (entrance from All Saints’ Passage), Cambridge

Language: Russian with English subtitles
Entrance: FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (Sponsored by Cambridge Ukrainian Studies),

However, to be sure of a seat, please RESERVE YOUR FREE TICKET by clicking here.

Muratova has declared that this film, her 17th full-length feature, will be her last. Inspired, she has said, by her frustration with overly neat narrative structure, the film’s minimalist plot consists of ‘eternal returns’ to the same situation: a man visits an old school friend, a woman whom he knew a long time ago in school, to ask for advice.

Variations on this visit and the ensuing conversation are repeated throughout the film: each time with a different set of actors and inflections. Shot almost entirely in brilliant black and white, the film features a pantheon of Muratova’s favourite actors, among them Alla Demidova, Renata Litvinova, Sergei Makovetskii and Oleg Tabakov, as well as many of the non-professional actors whom she has used to great effect in her previous work.

The film premiered at the Rome Film Festival in 2012 and won the 2013 ‘Nika’ for ‘Best Film from the CIS and Baltic States’ in 2013. It has screened at many international film festivals in Western and Eastern Europe, most notably in Rotterdam, which presented a complete retrospective of Muratova’s work in 2013. The Cambridge screening is the film’s first public showing in the UK.

The film will be introduced by Eugenie Zvonkine (Paris VIII).
Discussion following the film will be led by Nancy Condee (Pittsburgh) and Julian Graffy (UCL SSEES). All three have written memorably about Muratova’s work.

About the Director:

Kira Muratova was born in Soroki, Rumania (now Moldova) in 1934. She was educated in Moscow, where she graduated from the directing faculty of the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in 1962. She has lived and worked almost exclusively in Odessa since moving there to make her first feature films in the 1960s.

Her early career was difficult: her first three solo efforts were shelved–for alleged violations of Soviet aesthetic and political norms–and she was unable to make any films during the final decade of the Brezhnev era. The political and cultural shifts of perestroika brought new film-making possibilities and new audiences, both in the Soviet Union and abroad: her earlier works were re-released to wide acclaim and her Aesthenic Syndrome (1989) was hailed as the quintessential film of its era, winning the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and a host of other prizes.

Muratova’s work has since received major prizes from festivals and arts foundations all over the world. Ukraine claims her as its most accomplished living filmmaker and has showered her with honours. Soviet film historians claim her for their own pantheon of ‘greats’, as do feminist film scholars. When Western critics encounter her work, the comparisons they make are with the films of Fellini, Resnais, Truffaut, von Stroheim. Muratova herself, however, resists labels and categories of all kinds. She doesn’t mind, as she noted in a recent interview, being called a genius, but she could get along without any names at all, if producers would just come up with the money to make more films.

The screening is part of a Symposium on New Directions in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema Studies that honours Julian Graffy, Professor Emeritus of Russian Literature and Cinema Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.

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