6 January 1938|
Artemovsk, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
|Died||2 July 1979
Kalinin Oblast, Russian SFSR, USSR
She went to the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography in Moscow as a student of Alexander Dovzhenko. She was a student of Dovzhenko's for 18 months until he died in 1956. Shepitko graduated from VGIK in 1963 with her prize winning diploma film Heat, made when she was 22 years old. It tells the story of a new farming community in Central Asia during the mid-1950s.
Shepitko's next film Wings concerns a much-decorated female fighter pilot of World War II. The pilot, now principal of a vocational college, is out of touch with her daughter and the new generation. The film aroused considerable Soviet press controversy at the time, as films were not meant to depict conflicts between children and parents (Vronskaya 1972, p. 39).
The Ascent (1977) was her last film and the one which garnered the most attention in the West. In it, Shepitko returns to the sufferings of World War II, chronicling the trials and tribulations of a group of partisans in Belarus in the bleak winter of 1942. Two of the partisans are captured by the Nazis and then interrogated by a local collaborator, played by Anatoly Solonitsyn, before one of them is executed in public. This depiction of the martyrdom of the Russians owes much to Christian iconography. The Ascent won the Golden Bear at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival in 1977.
Shepitko died in a car crash on a highway near the city of Tver with four members of her shooting team in 1979 while scouting locations for her planned adaptation of the novel Farewell to Matyora, by Valentin Rasputin. Her husband Elem Klimov, also a film director, finished the work under the title Farewell.
- Quart, Barbara Koenig. 1988. Women Directors: The Emergence of a New Cinema . New York: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-92962-0, OCLC 17385039.
- Vronskaya, Jeanne. 1972. Young Soviet Film Makers. London: George Allen and Unwin
- Larisa Shepitko at the Internet Movie Database
- Guardian review of a Retrospective Screening of Her Work
- Film essay on Wings and The Ascent