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Farewell — Прощание (1983)
October 14 - 18:00 - 20:30
As the white-raincoated officials from the mainland emerge from the mist we get the feeling of the doom that is to overtake the little island of Matyora and its people. It is to be flooded to become part of a vast Siberian hydro-electric project. We switch immediately to the people of the island and their way of life, which is depicted with great understanding of their essentially happy existence rooted in a love of nature and of traditions which go back to pagan origins. In a film with such tragic implications there is, however, much gaiety which makes more poignant the inevitable ending. The island is sacrificed to progress. Engineers come and go. Arrangements are made for the evacuation which must take place. There are those, however, who prefer to remain in their homes and face death in the shadow of their ancestors.
Klimov made the film in 1981, having taken it over from his wife Larissa Shepitko who was killed in a car accident. She had also written the script in collaboration with Klimov’s brother Herman. It was based on a novel by the Siberian writer Valentin Rasputin. As with so many of Klimov’s films it did not meet with official approval and was shelved for many years until his spectacular assignment to the powerful position of head of Soviet cinema under the glasnost policies of Gorbachov. Originally chosen to open the 1984 Berlin Film Festival, it was initially refused an export licence.
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