Larisa Shepitko

Larisa Shepitko

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Larisa Shepitko

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Larisa Efimovna Shepitko (, ; 6 January 1938, Artemivsk, Ukrainian SSR – 2 June 1979, Kalinin Oblast) was a Soviet film director. 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.

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 (1976) 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 Nazis and then interrogated by a local collaborator, played by Anatoly Solonitsyn, before one of them is executed in public. This depiction of the...
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