Rare Russian film, Wings, at FilmClub

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FilmClub is hosting a screening of Larisa Sheptiko’s Wings at the Tatham Art Gallery in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg, at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 23.

Says Anton van der Hoven: “Tonight’s film is both a change of pace and something of a rarity. As part of our focus on women filmmakers, we will be screening a film by a little known Russian director. It is well worth viewing, both as a moving personal story about a woman struggling to adjust after the freedom she had experienced during the war and as a window on life in Russia in the early sixties.”

Gifted Russian film-maker Larisa Shepitko, who would undoubtedly be better known had she not died in an accident at the age of 40, leaving only four films completed.

Wings, made in 1966, is a profoundly perceptive and moving study of a woman whose past has made her ordinary present all but unbearable.

Nadya was a fighter pilot in the Russian airforce during World War II; now, at 42, she is the headmistress of a vocational high school, mother of an adopted daughter whom she loves but does not understand, and a good citizen who contributes dutifully to her society. But she is haunted by the contrast between the freedom, exhilaration and danger of flying and the mundane, constricting and ultimately lonely life she must now accept as all there is ever going to be.

One of the strengths of this unassuming film is Shepitko’s style which, with its combination of visual poetry and social realism, is reminiscent of that of her teacher and mentor Alexander Dovzhenko and places her in a tradition which includes better known film-makers like Tarkovsky and her husband, Elem Klimov.

Another is the quietly powerful central performance from renowned character actress Maya Bulgakova, who brings empathy and humour to her portrayal of the difficult, vulnerable, very human protagonist.

Entry is R35 per person and The Tatham Coffee shop will be offering a soup and bread supper from 6pm onwards (at a very reasonable R40 per person). Safe parking will be available in the government parking lot next to the gallery.

 

 

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