Two Masterpieces By Larisa Shepitko: Eclipse From The Criterion Collection
The career of Larisa Shepitko, an icon of sixties and seventies Soviet cinema, was tragically cut short when she was killed in a car crash at age forty, just as she was emerging on the international scene. The body of work she left behind, though small, is masterful, and her genius for visually evoking characters' interior worlds is never more striking than in her two greatest works: Wings, an intimate yet exhilarating portrait of a female fighter pilot turned provincial headmistress, and The Ascent, a gripping, tragic wartime parable of betrayal and martyrdom. A true artist who deftly used the Soviet film industry to make statements both personal and universal, Shepitko remains one of the greatest unsung filmmakers of all time.
Suffocated by modern-day living, a buttoned-down headmistress reminisces about her glory days as a World War II pilot. Shepitko's sensational breakthrough achieves a stunning naturalism in its portrayal of 1960s Soviet society as well as a blissful freedom when evoking the life of the mind.
Shepitko's brutal and beautiful religious allegory tracks two Byelorussian soldiers - one on the path to redemption, the other to hell - as they try to evade Nazi f-rces during World War II. Unbeknownst to her, this gloriously filmed epic was to be Shepitko's valedictory work.