Kira Muratova

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Kira Muratova

People's Artist of Ukraine
Romanian: Kira Gueórguievna Muratova
Kira Muratova in 2006
Kira Gueórguievna Korotkova

(1934-11-05)5 November 1934
Died6 June 2018(2018-06-06) (aged 83)
Occupation(s)Film director
Years active1961–2018
Spouse(s)Oleksandr Muratov
Evgeny Golubenko

Kira Georgievna Muratova (Russian: Кира Георгиевна Муратова; Romanian: Kira Gueórguievna Muratova; Ukrainian: Кіра Георгіївна Мура́това; née Korotkova, 5 November 1934 – 6 June 2018[1][2]) was a Ukrainian[3][4][5][6] award-winning film director, screenwriter and actress of Romanian/Jewish descent, known for her unusual directorial style.[7] Muratova's films underwent a great deal of censorship in the Soviet Union,[8] yet still Muratova managed to emerge as one of the leading figures in contemporary Cinema of Ukraine and Russian cinema and was able to build a very successful film career from 1960s onwards.[9] She is People's Artist of Ukraine(1989); Academician of National Academy of Arts of Ukraine (1997).[10] Laureate of the Shevchenko National Prize (1993) (in List of laureates at 1993 - № 12); Oleksandr Dovzhenko State Prize (2002). Muratova spent much of her artistic career in Odessa, creating most of her films at Odesa Film Studios.[11]

Her work has been described as possibly 'one of the most distinctive and singular oeuvres of cinematic world-making.'[12]


Early life and career[edit]

Kira Korotkova was born in 1934 in Soroca, Romania (present-day Moldova) to a Russian father[13] and a Romanian mother (of Bessarabian Jewish origin).[14][15][16] Her parents were both active communists and members of the Communist Party. Her father, Romanian: Gheorghe Corotcov, Russian: Юрий Коротков (1907-1941), participated in the anti-fascist guerilla movement in World War II, was arrested by Romanian forces and shot after interrogation. After the war, Kira lived in Bucharest with her mother, Romanian: Natalia Corotcov-Scurtu, was born Reznic, (1906—1981), a gynaecologist, who then pursued a government career in Socialist Romania.

In 1959, Kira graduated from the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, specializing in directing.[17] Upon graduation Korotkova received a director position with the Odessa Film Studio in Odessa, a port city at the Black Sea near to her native Bessarabia. She directed her first professional film in 1961 and worked with the studio until a professional conflict made her to move to Leningrad in 1978. There she made one film with Lenfilm Studio, but returned to Odessa afterwards. Muratova's films came under constant criticism of the Soviet officials due to her idiosyncratic film language that did not comply with the norms of socialist realism. Film scholar Isa Willinger has compared Muratova's cinematographic form to the Soviet Avant-garde, especially to Eisenstein's montage of attractions.[18] Several times Muratova was banned from working as a director for a number of years each time.

Kira married her fellow Odessa studio director Oleksandr Muratov in the early 1960s and co-created several films with him. The couple had a daughter, Marianna, but soon divorced and Muratov moved to Kyiv where he started work with Dovzhenko Film Studios. Kira Muratova kept her ex-husband's surname despite her later marriage to Leningrad painter and production designer Evgeny Golubenko.

Post-Soviet period[edit]

In the 1990s, an extremely productive period began for Muratova, during which she shot a feature film every two or three years, often working with the same actors and crew.[11] Her work The Asthenic Syndrome (1989) was described as 'an absurdist masterpiece' and was the only film to be banned (due to male and female nudity) during the Soviet Union perestroika.[19] Her other films released in this period include for example, The Sentimental Policeman (1992), Passions (1994),Three Stories (1997) and a short (1999) Letter to America.[20]

Two actresses Muratova has repeatedly cast are Renata Litvinova and Natalya Buzko. Muratova's films were usually productions of Ukraine or co-productions between Ukraine and Russia, always in the Russian language, although Muratova could speak Ukrainian and did not object to the Ukrainianization of Ukrainian cinema.[21] Muratova supported the Euromaidan protesters and the following 2014 Ukrainian revolution.[21]

Muratova's films were premiered at International Film Festivals in Berlin (1990, 1997),[22][23] Cannes,[24] Moscow,[25] Rome, Venice and others.

Next to Aleksandr Sokurov, Muratova was considered the most idiosyncratic contemporary Russian-language film director.[12] Her works can be seen as postmodern, employing eclecticism, parody, discontinuous editing, disrupted narration and intense visual and sound stimuli,[18] and her 'bitter humour reflecting a violent, loveless, morally empty society.[17] In her film, Three Stories, she explores the 'evil is hidden in a beautiful... innocent shell, and corpses form part of the décor.'[11] She was an admirer of Sergei Parajanov and her focus on 'ornamentalism' has been likened to his and was also anti-realist, with 'repetition giving shape to all possibility', with her last film, Eternal Homecoming effectively about cinema itself being unfinished, it is almost as if the 'spool of cinema keeps threading and tangling, threading and tangling'.[12]

Recognition and awards[edit]

It was only during Perestroyka that Muratova received wide public recognition and first awards. In 1988, the International Women's Film Festival Créteil (France) showed a first retrospective of her works. Her film Among Grey Stones was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.[24]

In 1990, her film Asthenic Syndrome won the Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix at the Berlinale.[22][17] In 1994, she was awarded the Leopard of Honour for her life oeuvre at The Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland) and in 2000, she was given the Andrzej Wajda Freedom Award.[18] In 1997, her film Three Stories was entered into the 47th Berlin International Film Festival.[23]

Her 2002 film Chekhov's Motifs was entered into the 24th Moscow International Film Festival.[25] Her film The Tuner was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2004. Her films received the Russian "Nika" prize in 1991, 1995, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2013. In 2005, a retrospective was shown at the Lincoln Center in New York City.[17] In 2013, a full retrospective of her films was shown at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.[26][17]

Her work has been mistakenly been 'largely ignored' in the Film Studies courses or in discussions on 'the greatest filmmakers of all time' according to recent film critic, Bianca Garner.

Muratova in 2010 conducting her personal master class at the Odessa International Film Festival.


Year Title (Original) Title (English) Director Writer Actress Notes
1961 У Крутого Яра By the Steep Ravine Yes Yes With Aleksandr Muratov
1964 Наш честный хлеб Our Honest Bread Yes as Agapa With Aleksandr Muratov
1967 Короткие встречи Brief Encounters Yes Yes as Valentina Ivanovna
1971 Долгие проводы The Long Farewell Yes
1972 Россия Russia Documentary; with Theodore Holcomb
1978 Познавая белый свет Getting to Know the Big, Wide World Yes Yes
1983 Среди серых камней Among Grey Stones Yes Renounced by Muratova after major political censorship (credited to "Ivan Sidorov" )
1987 Перемена участи Change of Fate Yes Yes
1989 Астенический синдром The Asthenic Syndrome Yes Yes
1992 Чувствительный милиционер The Sentimental Policeman Yes Yes
1994 Увлеченья Passions Yes
1997 Три истории Three Stories Yes
1999 Письмо в Америку Letter to America Yes Short
2001 Второстепенные люди Minor People Yes Yes
2002 Чеховские мотивы Chekhov's Motifs Yes Yes
2004 Настройщик The Tuner Yes Yes
2005 Справка Certification Yes Short
2006 Кукла Dummy Yes Short
2007 Два в одном Two in One Yes
2009 Мелодия для шарманки Melody for a Street-organ Yes Yes
2012 Вечное возвращение Eternal Return Yes Yes


Upon an initiative of the arts patron Yuri Komelkov, Atlant UMC has published an album on Kira Muratova's work. In this album, the author of the photos, Konstantin Donin, confined himself to the film set frames, acting as a screen reporter of the film Two-in-one.[27]

In 2005, a study on the life and work of Muratova was published by I.B. Tauris in the KINOfiles Filmmakers' Companion series.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Умерла Кира Муратова
  2. ^ Kira Muratova, Renowned Ukrainian Director, Dies at 83
  3. ^ Kira Muratova: The Zoological Imperium // Nancy Condee (2009). The Imperial Trace : Recent Russian Cinema. Oxford University Press. pp. 115–140. ISBN 978-0199710546.
  4. ^ Women and Russian film: The films of Kira Muratova // David C. Gillespie (2003). Russian Cinema. Harlow. UK, and New York: Longman. pp. 92–102. ISBN 978-1-317-87412-6.
  5. ^ Taubman, Jane A. “The Cinema of Kira Muratova.” The Russian Review, vol. 52, no. 3, 1993, pp. 367–381.
  6. ^ Roberts, Graham. (1999). The Meaning of Death: Kira Muratova's Cinema of the Absurd. // B. Beumers (Ed.). Russia on Reels: The Russian Idea in Post-Soviet Cinema. London: I.B.Tauris. 220 p.: pp. 144–160.
  7. ^ Peter Rollberg (2009). Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema. US: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 474–477. ISBN 978-0-8108-6072-8.
  8. ^ Gray, Carmen; Pyzik, Agata; Vivaldi, Giuliano; Goff, Samuel (13 June 2018). "Kira Muratova: a tribute to the dazzling, controversial genius of Soviet and Ukrainian cinema". The Calvert Journal.
  9. ^ Muratova, Kira 1934-2018 (Kira Georgievna Korotkova). 2018
  10. ^ М. В. Юр. Муратова Кіра Георгіївна Archived 2016-10-02 at the Wayback Machine//Енциклопедія історії України : у 10 т. / редкол.: В. А. Смолій (голова) та ін. ; Інститут історії України НАН України. — Київ : Наукова думка, 2010. — Т. 7 : Мл — О. — С. 134. — 728 с. : іл. — ISBN 978-966-00-1061-1.
  11. ^ a b c "Kira Muratova obituary: a great, fearless filmmaker who poked at open wounds | Sight & Sound". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  12. ^ a b c Gorfinkel, Elena (2019). "CLOSE-UP | Kira Muratova's Searing World". (second ed.). Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  13. ^ "Jonathan Rosenbaum". Archived from the original on 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  14. ^ Kira Muratova. The More Things Change .... 2019
  15. ^ Illegal Communist Movement in Prewar Romania: Natalia Reznic Korotkova (1906–1981).
  16. ^ Viața și moartea unui comunist basarabean Iuri Korotkov, tatăl Kirei Muratova
  17. ^ a b c d e Bergan, Ronald (2018-06-21). "Kira Muratova obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  18. ^ a b c "Willinger, Isa (2013): "Circus Tricks and Eisenstein's 'Montage of Attractions': Traces of the Russian Film-Avant-garde in Muratova's Oeuvre"". Retrieved 2015-01-09.
  19. ^ Torre, Lucía de la. "Kira Muratova: where to start with her films". The Calvert Journal. Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  20. ^ "Kira Muratova". IMDb. Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  21. ^ a b Більше читайте тут:
  22. ^ a b "Berlinale: 1990 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  23. ^ a b "Berlinale: 1997 Programme". Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  24. ^ a b "Festival de Cannes: Among Grey Stones". Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  25. ^ a b "24th Moscow International Film Festival (2002)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  26. ^ Tempelman, Olaf (January 2013). "Voor alles en iedereen ongrijpbaar". De Volkskrant (in Dutch). No. International Film Festival Rotterdam. p. 12.
  27. ^ #Literature.
  28. ^ "Kira Muratova". Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 2020-04-08.


  • Donin [Донин, К. А.]. Кадр за кадром: Кира Муратова. Хроника одного фильма. К.: ООО «Атлант-ЮЭмСи», 2007. 119 с. ISBN 978-966-8968-11-2. (in Russian)

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