Kino Klassika’s second annual International Women’s Day gala will see Kira Muratova’s 1967 romantic drama Brief Encounters screened on March 8th at Soho House. This gala evening will be in collaboration with Veuve Clicquot.
About Brief Encounters
Maxim, a geologist, has captured the hearts of two very different women – his zealous wife Valentina, a high-ranking official, and Nadya, the naive young village lass he met on one of his expeditions. The girl goes in search of Maxim and ends up working for his wife, of whose existence she was totally unaware. Valentina mistakes Nadya for the new maid and the latter accepts her offer of a job just so she can get close to Maxim. But on the eve of his return home Nadya realises that she has no part in this story. The subtly comic pairing of the two women and their unintentional love triangle with the missing man are infused with a lyric sensitivity, as the film’s episodic flashbacks narrate each woman’s emotional dependency on the absent Maksim.
Director Kira Muratova, who also plays the role of Valentina, the city bureaucrat, provides a psychological depth and complex richness to her character that contrasts starkly with the more traditional femininity of her foil, played by actress Nina Ruslanova, for whom this was the first film role. The relationship of the two female characters contrasts city and country, as well as differing class expectations, and normative gender roles.
The nontraditional structure of Brief Encounters, woven from scattered, non-linear reminiscences, together with its vision of the social disenchantment to come, rattled party officials, and the film was shelved until 1987 when it was released during the perestroika period.
Kira Muratova is both a living legend and one of the most marginalised figures in Russian cinema. During the Soviet era her work failed to conform to ideological requirements, and today it doesn’t correspond with commercial trends – in the past, her films were locked away in the censor’s vault and now they are essentially left to tour the festival circuit. Over the past 55 years she has made 20 films, each of which betrays a different aesthetic and a unique ability to articulate the most fundamental qualities of society.