The Asthenic Syndrome

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Muratova's literally ungodly film is the most recommendable hard-to-sit-through movie of the year. It starts out in monochrome, telling the story of a woman who goes to pieces after her husband's funeral, but that turns out to be a film-within-the-film (one which empties the theatre at a preview, moreover) which prefaces an extended collage of 'fear and loathing' scenes from Russian life. Asthenia is blind aggression masking underlying weakness, and Muratova sees it as pervading her society; not only in hooliganism, vandalism and crime, but also in male-female and teacher-pupil relations, and virtually everyone's attitude to life. Not an incisive, organised movie like her long-banned Short Meetings, but equally distinctive and memorable.

By: TR

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Cast and crew

Director: Kira Muratova
Screenwriter: Kira Muratova, Sergei Popov, Alexander Tschernych
Cast: Sergei Popov
Olga Antonova
Natalja Busko