Larisa Shepitko

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This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Efimovna and the family name is Shepitko.
Larisa Shepitko
Born (1938-01-06)6 January 1938
Artemovsk, Ukrainian SSR, USSR
Died 2 July 1979(1979-07-02) (aged 41)
Kalinin Oblast, Russian SFSR, USSR
Occupation Film director
Years active 1956–1979

Larisa Efimovna Shepitko (Russian: Лари́са Ефи́мовна Шепи́тько; Ukrainian: Лариса Юхимівна Шепітько; 6 January 1938 – 2 July 1979) was a Soviet film director.

Early life[edit]

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.

Film career[edit]

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).

Shepitko's third film was You and I (1971). This was her only film in colour. It was favourably received at the Venice Film Festival, but lacked proper public exposure in the Soviet Union.

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 Wehrmacht 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.[1]

Shepitko's growing international reputation led to an invitation to serve on the jury at the 28th Berlin International Film Festival in 1978.[2] However, she was unable to complete any other films.


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Berlinale 1977 - Filmdatenblatt". Archiv der Internationale Filmfestspiele in Berlin. 1977. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  2. ^ "Berlinale 1978: Juries". Retrieved 2010-08-04. 


  • 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

External links[edit]