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    Elem Klimov – memorial book 2008

    By Ron Holloway | December 31, 2008

    Even if your mastery of the Russian language is only so-so, don’t miss Elem Klimov, a memorial book edited by Raisa Fomina, Andrei Plakhov, German Klimov and Mariana Murzina. Asked once what Elem Klimov (1933-2003) was like, I likened him to a “Herman Melville hero” – genuine, complex, profound. He was an intellectual, yet a man of the world, who enjoyed the give-and-take of a heated conversation, who told stories that held listeners in suspense until the last twist came with a sparkle in his eye, who hyped his arguments with political banter and fearless commentary. Ask Elem about the troubles he had faced as a director, he would respond with a smile about the attacks on his early satires: the short feature Careful – Banality (1959), the children’s film for grownups Welcome – Entrance Forbidden (1964), and the allegory Adventures of a Dentist (1966). Query him for the reasons why Agonia (1975/85) was banned for ten years and why it took so long to release Come and See (1985), he would simply shrug his shoulders – there’s just no cure for banality. Entreat him on how he felt when the two-year ban was finally lifted on Farewell (1981/83), he would struggle to hold back his emotions. After all, he had completed the film on behalf of his wife, Larisa Shepitko, who had died tragically while shooting Farewell to Majora, based on Valentin Rasputin’s novel – shortened by Elem to Farewell to add a personal note.

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