Kira Muratova (1934-2018)

Kira Heorhiyivna Muratova was a prominent Ukrainian film director, actress and screen-writer. Her maiden name was Korotkova.  She was born on the 5th of November in 1934 in Soroca, Romania (now Moldova). Her father was a Russian, her mother was a Jew, and they both were known as members of the Communist Party. During the World War II Heorgiy Korotkov took part in the anti-fascist guerilla movement, was arrested and killed by Romanian forces. Young Kira and her mother lived in Bucharest for a while.

Kira Muratova graduated from the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow in 1959. Her main specialization was direction. Soon she received a post of a film director with the Odessa Film Studio and spent most of her artistic and career life there, in the city on the Black Sea coast. In 1961 she directed her first professional film “By the Steep Ravine”. Kira Muratova worked in Odessa till 1978, when a professional conflict made her leave for Saint Petersburg. She made only one film there, and came back to Odessa afterwards. She married another director from Odessa Film Studio, Oleksandr Muratov, and gave birth to a daughter Marianna. But their matrimony did not last long; after divorcement O. Muratov moved to Kyiv and made a career on Dovzhenko Film Studio. Kira Muratove married a Russian painter Evgeny Golubenko, though she preferred to keep her first husband`s surname.

K. Muratova`s movies were not accepted in the USSR and came under strict criticism of the Soviet Union because of her idiosyncratic language that did not comply with the norms of the art of socialist realism. According to film scholar Isa Willinger, she could be reckoned to Soviet Avant-garde.

It was only after Perestroyka when Kira Muratova received her first awards. Her film “Among Grey Stones” was screened at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. In 1990, her film “Asthenic Syndrome” won the Jury Grand Prix at the Berlinale. In 1994, she was awarded the Leopard of Honour for her life oeuvre at The Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland). In 1997, her film “Three Stories” was entered into the 47th Berlin International Film Festival. 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 2013, a full retrospective of her films was shown at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

After the dissolution of the USSR the most fruitful period of Kira Muratova`s career began. She made a movie every two or three years, working with the same actors on the different movie-sets. Such famous actresses, as Renata Litvinova and Natalya Buzko, were among that constant cast. Though all K. Muratova`s cinema pictures were in the Russian language, she always considered herself to be a Ukrainian. She knew the Ukrainian language well, and moreover supported Euromaidan and the Ukrainian revolution in 2014.

Kira Muratova died on the 6th of June in 2018. She was awarded with the Order of Friendship, Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise and with Shevchenko National Prize.