Brief Encounters

1967, Kira Murotova, USSR

Director: Kira Muratova
Production: Odessa Kinostudio
Screenplay: Kira Muratova, Leonid Zhukovitski
Cinematography: Ghenadi Kariuk
Editor: Olga Charkova
Music: Oleg Karavaichuk, Vladimir Vysotski
Nina Ruslanova (Nidya)
Vladimir Vysotsky (Maxim)
Kira Muratova (Valentina)
Lidiya Bazilskaya (Lubka)
Olga Viklandt (Hairdresser)
Aleksey Glazyrin (Semen Semenovich)

Rating: PG Runtime: 97 minutes

Brief Encounters is the first of two films we’re screening by the Moldovan-born, Ukrainian filmmaker, Kira Muratova. These films were little seen at the times of their release, partly due to the concerns the Soviet censors had about their content. She is considered by many critics to be one of the most underappreciated filmmakers of the 20th century: a bias against Eastern European cinema, and women filmmakers, surely factors in this.

Brief Encounters, has an engaging premise, a single upper-middle-class woman, Valya (Muratova) employs a live-in housekeeper Nadia (Nina Ruslanova), unaware that the same man, Nomadic geologist Maxim, has broken both their hearts. Despite this high-concept premise, the film is discursive in subject and style, unfolding in a series of interconnected episodes, highlighting the transient nature of their relationships.

Muratova explores themes of loneliness, desire, and the challenges faced by individuals within the constraints of Soviet societal norms. This willingness to challenge the conventions of Soviet cinema during a period of artistic censorship marks her filmography – similar themes are found in The Long Farewell, which will screen later in 2024.

“There’s not the space to catalogue the felicities in the direction of this extraordinary first film. The cinematography is crisp, beautiful, and for 1967, daringly, but expressively, unconventional. There are brief encounters with a dozen other characters who register with singular vividness. The 20 years it was banned by Soviet censors could not diminish the originality of this exquisite film. It has become an instant classic.”


Jul 15 2024


6:15 pm - 7:55 pm