Farewell: A Tribute to Elem Klimov and Larisa Shepitko May 19 - 30, 2006
Presented by Seagull Films and the Film Society of Lincoln Center with the assistance of the Russian Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography and Concern Mosfilm.
Both movie-star-beautiful, Klimov and Shepitko met soon after film school and were married; with their respective first films, Heat (Shepitko) and Welcome, or No Trespassing (Klimov), both were hailed as major new talents. Yet as the Soviet cultural “thaw” came to an end in the late 60s, each found it increasingly difficult to work; there was a longer and longer time between projects, and even those films that were completed often later faced demands for cuts or outright censorship. In 1977, Shepitko’s The Ascent won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, and she seemed on the verge international recognition; alas, it would be her final work, as she was killed in a car accident while working on her next film, an adaptation of Valery Rasputin’s "Farewell to Matyora." Klimov would actually complete the film she had started, and later go on to direct perhaps his greatest film, Come and See, yet the death of Larisa Shepitko came to symbolize the end of that remarkable generation of Soviet filmmakers.
As this series powerfully shows, there is much to celebrate in the careers of Shepitko and Klimov. Those films they were able to make are testaments to their uncompromising artistry. Shepitko excelled at focusing on individuals or small groups of characters and studying them intensely; Klimov was a master at creating broad frescoes that would shape and define the contours of his characters. They were both unwilling to opt in their films for easy answers or pat ideological positions. Life, in the Klimov and Shepitko films, is never tidy, and one should never be surprised at what human beings are capable of doing — for better and for worse.
In November, 2000, the Film Society and Seagull Films presented “Revolution in the Revolution: Soviet Cinema of the 60s,” a series that revealed the tremendous creative ferment in Soviet cinema of that era, a time when various “new waves” were sweeping across world cinema. “Farewell: A Tribute to Elem Klimov and Larisa Shepitko,” returns to that era by focusing on two of the brightest lights of a generation that also included Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrei Konchalovsky and Kira Muratova. A special feature of this series will be a chance to see the complete version of Klimov’s remarkable Agonia, an amazing film about the notorious Rasputin that was shown in heavily cut versions here when first released.
The series is made possible with the generous support from George Gund III and Iara Lee, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Special thanks to Richard Peńa, Alexander Ikonnikov and Galina Peshkova.
For a listing of films in “Farewell: A Tribute to Elem Klimov and Larisa Shepitko,” series go to Program. To view a calendar of events and to purchase tickets online go to