Shepitko was not interested in battle sequences and displays of gallantry – which, in other films, often serve to glorify war and bypass its true costs – but rather in the extreme physical and psychological traumas endured by individuals in World War II. However, they are discovered and captured. Boris Plotnikov later said that he would have liked to repeat this experience in other films, but never did. The main accusation was that Shepitko allegedly made a religious parable with a mystical tone from the partisan story; this was considered an insurrection in the atheistic Soviet cinema. It was on my radar due to seeing it well placed in several critics lists of great films, and the synopsis sounded like it would be something up my alley. [11], Shepitko decided to use unknown or little-known actors whose past roles would not cast a shadow on their characters in The Ascent. Gostyukhin spoke of Shepitko's ability to convey an idea to the actors, akin to hypnosis, under which he with Plotnikov - the newcomers to the film studio - could produce the "miracle of transformation." Vasil Býkaŭ also shared a similar opinion about the film's director, he called her "Dostoevsky in a skirt." Though her name is now unjustly obscure, Larisa Shepitko was one of the boldest, most renowned filmmakers of the Soviet era. The Ascent thus plays on the ironic inversion of the socialist realist typology of heroes of the Great Patriotic War. The film won the Golden Bear award at the 27th Berlin International Film Festivalin 1977. The movie was shot in January 1974 near Murom, Vladimir Oblast, Russia, in appalling winter conditions, as required by the script, based on the novel Sotnikov by Vasil Bykaŭ. The release on DVD of these two films from Larisa Shepitko allows us a chance-finally-to see two masterpieces from a director who, sadly since her death in 1979, has been all but forgotten. [10], From the moment she read the story Sotnikov, it took Larisa Shepitko four years to prepare and to obtain permits from the authorities to begin shooting the picture. It’s The Ascent, from Eclipse Series 11: Larisa Shepitko. *WARNING: THIS PIECE CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS FOR THE ASCENT* Ukrainian-born Soviet director Larisa Shepitko’s fifth and final film, The Ascent, is a war narrative unlike any other.Shepitko was not interested in battle sequences and displays of gallantry – which, in other films, often serve to glorify war and bypass its true costs – but rather in the extreme physical and … [11] Gostyukhin recalled that he transformed into Rybak to such a degree that even the made-up bruise only fell from his face after three weeks. The director of Martin Eden chooses a selection of films dear to his heart, including classics that made a deep impression on him in childhood. Ascent, an independent, not-for-profit magazine; Ascent, a literary journal based at Concordia College; Ascent, by Jed Mercurio; Times Ascent, a weekly supplement of The Times of India newspaper; Film and TV. Larisa Shepitko’s film, an extraordinary depiction of the horrors of war, set in German-occupied Belorussia, begins as a fight for survival. Shepitko turned to Klepikov on the recommendation of her classmate Natalia Ryazantseva but he was already busy working on another script. Sometimes Gostyukhin had to carry the director from the car to the hotel room by himself: Shepitko was sometimes not very well and occasionally her strength weakened. Larisa Shepitko’s The Ascent is one of the most tactile of films. As he heads back to the camp with his new comrades, Rybak is vilified by the villagers. Despite her short career, she however managed to create some of the best Soviet films of her time. When they fall into the hands of German forces and come face-to-face with death, each must choose between martyrdom and betrayal, in a spiritual ordeal that lifts the film’s earthy drama to the plane of religious allegory. The actor chosen for the role was the unknown actor Vladimir Gostyukhin. The next morning, all are led out to be hanged. We spread the word about Larisa Shepitko, one of the true visionaries of Soviet cinema, when we released two of her incredible films in 2008, but she remains an under-the-radar figure for most movie lovers. Despite her short career, she however managed to create some of the best Soviet films of her time. Eclipse Series 11: Larisa Shepitko (Wings / The Ascent) (The Criterion Collection) Maya Bulgakova (Actor), Boris Plotnikov (Actor), Larisa Shepitko (Director) & Rated: Unrated. The Ascent. The film won the Golden Bear award at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival in 1977. ", Anatoly Solonitsyn at first did not see anything interesting in what he thought of as a "supporting role", and which he considered a "rehash" of what had been filmed earlier. [8] Shepitko retorted that she was not religious and that a story about betrayal was antediluvian. After a protracted gunfight in the snow in which one of the Germans is killed, the two men get away, but Sotnikov (Boris Plotnikov) is shot in the leg. Plotnikov had immediately attracted the director with his constitution, smile, look and plasticity while Gostyukhin's appearance did not coincide with how Shepitko saw Rybak: the young actor came to his audition with "frivolous" bangs which were uncharacteristic for a partisan. Rybak stares out the open door and begins to laugh and weep. On screen it was necessary to show the deadly fatigue of the flushed, panting people. [14] This approach was endorsed by Larisa Shepitko, according to whom the actors had to "feel the winter all the way down to their very cells" for a more reliable way of entering the character. Having graduated from the Moscow Film School in 1963, Shepitko had produced three features and a segment for an … [12], From the beginning of the search for the actor who would play Sotnikov, Larisa Shepitko instructed Emma Baskakova, her casting assistant, to keep in mind the image of Christ, although it was impossible to mention this out loud. The Ascent, director Larisa Shepitko’s final film and said to be one of the finest war films ever made, is a bleak and harrowing masterpiece of genuine gut-wrenching power.It is a story of survival, sacrifice and betrayal that captures the fragility, ugliness and greatness of man. The first scenes were shot on location in the middle of fields, forests and ravines despite the fact that the weather was forty degrees below zero. The film was nearly banned: regulatory authorities believed that a "religious parable with a mystical tinge" was shot instead of a partisan story. By that time Shepitko had already gained a reputation of an inconvenient director. The Ascent . Sadly, she died at the age of 41 in a car accident and her films are little known. Her husband, Elem Klimov, finished the film for her in 1984 under the abbreviated title Farewell. Klepikov, by his own admission, "could not withstand the energy of the typhoon whose name was Larisa," and started the task of revising the literary foundation which he later described as "a piping philosophical parable which combined the high spirit of man with his obvious desire to keep the body as a receptacle of the spirit. Larisa Shepitko’s final film is a masterly war movie following two very different soldiers during the Great Patriotic War. Zola Jesus, née Nika Roza Danilova, is an internationally celebrated crafter of haunting electronic pop. The first one I want to draw attention to is the Russian war film The Ascent of Larisa Shepitko from 1977. He dies and rises above his tormentor. Their idea was to leave Rybak alone with the knowledge of his fall. 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. ... Start watching with your public library card or university login. For him and Plotnikov it was extremely important to validate the director's trust, since she had needed to defend their casting choices long and hard in front of the Soviet film authorities. By the latter's suggestion it was done to collect their attention and will and also to give texture and credibility to their characters. Klepikov did not refuse the commission, but he asked to postpone working on The Ascent for a week. Amazon's Choice recommends highly rated and well-priced products. Directed by Larisa Shepitko • 1977 • Soviet Union Shepitko's emotionally overwhelming final film won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and has been hailed around the world as the finest Soviet film of its decade. Film and TV. Vladimir Vysotsky, who yearned to play Rybakov, also did not pass selection. Her ability to enthrall her colleagues had already manifested before: Yuri Vizbor (lead actor in the movie You and I) said: "We worked for Larisa, specifically, personally for her. The actor went through seven test shots altogether for which he always had to fly to Moscow from Sverdlovsk. His performance was noticed by Svetlana Klimova, who was the second unit director for Vasiliy Ordynski. Cut!" The Ascent (15*) + Introduction by writer Vlad Strukov ... Larisa Shepitko’s film, an extraordinary depiction of the horrors of war, set in German-occupied Belorussia, begins as a fight for survival. It was Shepitko's last film before her death in a car accident in 1979. Plotnikov, whose repertoire until then largely included the roles of magical animals,[13] even had to be made up for the purpose of greater glorification of the character so that the artistic council would approve him for the role. [5][15], When Klimov, bypassing Mosfilm, invited Masherov to a special preview of The Ascent, he initially was skeptical and was expecting to see "effeminate directorial work." She married to Elem Klímov (Come and See) and made a couple of feature films that are high-regarded. Every day she was haunted by the possibility of death; reading the novel Sotnikov by Vasil Býkaŭ during this period helped Shepitko express this state on the silver screen. The Ascent, director Larisa Shepitko’s final film and said to be one of the finest war films ever made, is a bleak and harrowing masterpiece of genuine gut-wrenching power.It is a story of survival, sacrifice and betrayal that captures the fragility, ugliness and greatness of man. At the end of the film, Masherov - contrary to tradition (usually at such premieres opinions were heard first from the lower ranks and then from the highest) - came on stage and spoke for about forty minutes. His words were not recorded by anyone but Elem Klimov testified that his excited speech was one of the best he ever heard addressed to his wife. There are better films than "The Ascent", but hardly any others which hit their chosen marks as concisely as Shepitko's masterpiece. This should be a very good actor. However, Rybak tells as much as he thinks the police already know, hoping to live so he can escape later. The Ascent 1977 ★★★ Larisa Shepitko’s “The Ascent,” intentionally or not, is an anti-Hollywood movie, much as say Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” is just that. Shepitko's emotionally overwhelming final film won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and has been hailed around the world as the finest. The digital image and sound restoration was by Mosfilm Cinema Concern in 2018. The Ascent, a 1977 Soviet film set in World War II; Kodiyettam (Ascent), 1977 Indian film written and directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan "The Ascent" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), a 1996 episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"Ascent" (American Crime Story), an episode of the second season of American Crime Story"Ascent" (), an episode of The Dead Zone The Ascent (Voskhozhdeniye, Larisa Shepitko, 1977) is a Second World War drama set in an unidentified area of German-occupied Belarus during the bitterly cold winter of 1942.Not a film for the faint hearted, The Ascent is a harrowing, gut-wrenching portrayal of the suffering experienced by two members of a Soviet partisan group: a stolid, grizzled, battle-hardened veteran, … [14], In order to achieve the desired performance from the actors, Shepitko sometimes talked for a long time with them out in the cold. Because of this, she rejected Andrey Myagkov, who wanted to act in the picture. The Ascent The crowning triumph of a career cut tragically short, Larisa Shepitko’s final film won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and went on to be hailed as one of the finest works of late-Soviet cinema. Shepitko belonged to a gifted generation of Russian filmmakers like Andrej Tarkovsky, Elem Klimov and Kira Muratova. [6][7] Shepitko practised the "engineer's" approach: she did not tolerate uncertainty or haziness in work and did not rely on director's improvisation or creative inspiration. Production took place under an atmosphere of severe stress. [6][6] Only a long conversation with the director allowed him to understand her vision of Portnov: the personification of the negative side in the eternal history of man's struggle with the animal inside himself in the name of the supreme value – namely, the value of the spirit. View a still from the film →→ [15] Moreover, Shepitko did not recuperate enough, and the consequences of the disease adversely affected her well-being in the future, in particular on the set of The Ascent. According to her, Judas and Jesus had always existed and that if the legend connected with people then this means that it was alive in every person. At the time when the castings for The Ascent were taking place, Vysotsky was starring in the film The Negro of Peter the Great. Gostyukhin received an invitation to act in the series The Road to Calvary, where he played the role of the anarchist and bandit Krasilnikov for whom charisma and a strong temperament were required. I can say that the film matured us too. Shepitko brings to light the inner life of a middle-aged woman who must reconcile her past with her present reality. Every frame, every remark, every scene was carefully checked and planned in advance. Speaking about the holy things, about categories of high spirituality, we were obligated to apply high standards to ourselves too. [14], For the role of Rybak the director screened 20 candidates. Her bright career as a director only lasted a single decade, ended abruptly by a tragic car accident. Nearly four and a half decades since its release, Larisa Shepitko’s 1977 film The Ascent remains a crowning achievement like no other.Shepitko additionally helmed the films Wings (1966), Beginnings of an Unknown Era (1967), In the 13th Hour of the Night (1969), and You and Me (1971), but the Soviet director’s career was tragically cut short in a fatal car accident in 1979. After the film was shot the actor tried for such a long time to leave his role behind and to become himself again that he refused to star in Shepitko's next planned film, entitled Farewell, despite her persistent requests.[12]. For example, despite the crew's full readiness, the director would talk for a long time with Boris Plotnikov, whose character she carefully directed during the filming. Larisa Shepitko was glamorous and gifted, and in her heyday she had the movie world at her feet. The crowning triumph of a career cut tragically short, Larisa Shepitko’s final film won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and went on to be hailed as one of the finest works of late Soviet cinema. She had faith and that was the reason. In her tragically short career, the Ukrainian-born auteur left behind only a handful of films—including the psychologically charged feminist character study WINGS and the shattering, spiritually transcendent World War II masterpiece THE ASCENT—but they rank among the … But after a 20-minute conversation with the director, he was convinced that only she could film the adaptation of this weighty book. Sounds perfect Wahhhh, I don’t wanna. [14], Vladimir Gostyukhin described the filming process not as acting but as "death in every frame." The founder of the website Screen Slate picks a selection of favorites, including an ’80s indie gem, shockers ranging from Eraserhead to Canoa, and two films that capture the “twilit feeling of childhood.”. The Ascent is a 1977 Soviet film made by Ukrainian director Larisa Shepitko. "[6] After a few days The Ascent was formally accepted without any amendments. It was while working that set that he was noticed by Larisa Shepitko's assistants. The breathless immediacy of Voskhozhdeniye ( The Ascent, Larisa Shepitko, 1977), adapted from a novella by Vasily Bykov about two Belarusian partisans during World War II, combines with a profound understanding of human vulnerability to make the film, Shepitko’s last, a … Set in Nazi-occupied Belarus during World War II, The Ascent follows two Soviet partisans who brave harsh winter landscapes in search of food to sustain their fellow escapees. Shepitko and Klimov decided to continue this playful approach of rewarding each other but after all the years of their union Klimov alone received the ten rouble reward and only twice: for Heat and for The Ascent. During the first rehearsal Shepitko even sprayed their faces with snow. Posts; Ask me anything; Archive; s-shalhoub. 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. All motion pictures are personal but the desire to film The Ascent was almost a physical need. In addition she experienced extreme pain which was caused by her recent spinal trauma. The Ascent is a tremendously significant film in the life of its director, who never had a chance to become tremendously significant herself. It is cited as being from a "New 4K digital restoration". Sotnikov is interrogated first by local collaborator Portnov (Anatoli Solonitsyn), a former Soviet club-house director and children's choirmaster who became the local head of the Belarusian Auxiliary Police, loyal to the Germans. A fellow policeman calls for Rybak until Rybak opens the door. The following long close-up of majestic nature signified the freedom which Rybak desperately desires and was intended to emphasize the utmost despair "of a person who lost himself. She expresses this by contrasting her character's r… [11] With this dedication the shooting took place without interruption and was completed one month ahead of schedule. The Ascent follows two anti-Nazi partisans through a snowy landscape into a prison camp, analyzing how one of them, a man of action, is manipulated and dismantled, while his weaker-seeming comrade comes to understand his one remaining role: martyr. The Ascent is a tremendously significant film in the life of its director, who never had a chance to become tremendously significant herself. [8] The director did not spark a confrontation but she also did not offer any other projects. Despite the fact that the film was one of the prize winners at the Venice Film Festival, the removed scenes were a terrible blow to Shepitko, who believed that changing an important moment leads to the loss of main ideas. • Wings (1966), Krylya – Shepitko's first post-institute film Wingsconcerns a much-decorated female fighter pilot of World War II. [6], From the outset Shepitko managed to inspire every co-worker with her idea; they understood the film to be about sacred things: motherland, higher values, conscience, duty and spiritual heroism. [6], The next step was the need for the script's approval from the State Committee for Cinematography. According to Yuri Klepikov even "the fruitful spontaneity was due to the very environment of the shoot," which was ensured by the carefully crafted script. Tarkovsky’s favorite actor, Anatoli Solonitsyn, plays the cynical torturer whose job it is to break their will. Why has everyone forgotten her, asks Larushka Ivan-Zadeh. In 1973, when she raised the topic of making the film, the answer from an official of the State Committee for Cinematography was a firm negative. The same fate befell Nikolai Gubenko. Portnov offers him the job of policeman. Ermash's replacement reacted skeptically to the pleas, and the subsequent process from script approval to acceptance of the film's actors was accompanied by considerable difficulties. In order to express the spiritual states she often had to deviate from the literary basis. Even so, Shepitko initially had doubts about the candidate, who even with his actor's training, was still only a stage laborer. Larisa Shepitko's fourth and final film, 1977's The Ascent (Voskhozhdeniye), is a bleak trek across the frozen Byelorussian landscape during WWII.Set in the small Eastern European country just north of the Ukraine, it details the ravages its people suffered under the German invasion and their perseverance in the face of crisis and tragedy. I went into my first viewing of The Ascent fairly uninformed about the story, only knowing of its reputation for being emotionally intense and widely admired due to its powerful imagery and raw naturalism. Religion, Politics, and Literature in Larisa Shepit’ko’s The Ascent Jason Merrill Michigan State University Scholars have noted Larisa Shepit’ko’s extensive use of Christian motifs in her film The ... ‘Larissa Shepitko: Her Life and Films’, Cinema India-International, 7.2 (1990), 13–16 (p. 15). "[6], Shepitko's husband Elem Klimov suggested the film's title. [7] Gostyukhin, who had worked for six years in the Soviet Army theater as a furniture and prop maker, had once replaced a sick actor in the play Unknown Soldier. While the literary work by Býkaŭ was full of sensual details like "icy cold", "famine", "danger", Shepitko strongly discouraged attempts to be satisfied with external action and demanded an "internal justification" of each movement, gesture and glance of the heroes. "[9], For help in overcoming the resistance of the authorities and the State Political Directorate, Shepitko turned to Gemma Firsova with whom she had studied at VGIK. ... Larisa Shepitko . In a conversation with Ermash's replacement (in her memoirs Firsova did not call Boris Pavlenok by his name), Firsova said that she took the script under her responsibility, with a lie that "everything will be fine with the State Political Directorate." During the Great Patriotic War (World War II), two Soviet partisans go to a Belarusian village in search of food. [1] It was Shepitko's last film before her death in a car accident in 1979. There is a new 17-minute video introduction by journalist Anton Klimov, son of director Larisa Shepitko and filmmaker Elem Klimov recorded for the Criterion Collection in September 2020, Klimov talks about the singular vision of his mother, director Larisa Shepitko, for The Ascent, and the devotion to her work of his father, filmmaker Elem Klimov. As the reviewer above notes, the Ascent deserves to be remembered among the very best films to come out of Russia. She has so internalized the military ideas of service and obedience that she cannot adjust to life during peacetime. The embodiment of resistance is not the impetuous and combative hero. The director insisted that the Great Patriotic War was won by the Soviet people because of their high level of awareness, so Portnov's "anti-hero" role was especially important because the character was supposed to emphasize the superiority of the human spirit's power over matter. Realizing what he has done, he tries to hang himself in the outhouse with his belt, but fails. November 18 [2020] December 23 [2020] [Futuristika!] November 18 [2020] December 23 [2020] [Futuristika!] ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (December 2020): Criterion have transferred Larisa Shepitko's The Ascent to Blu-ray. For example, Boris Plotnikov was dressed very lightly and quickly grew numb from the cold and the piercing winds in the open field; but after the command "Stop! Larisa Shepitko wanted to find someone similar in external characteristics to Plotnikov, saying, "They are similar, but Portnov is an antipode to Sotnikov based on internal beliefs. The situation was also aggravated by the fact that she was pregnant, but she felt that during her pregnancy she came to understand the complexities of life more fully. The Ascent (Russian: Восхождение, tr. By 1979, when she was tragically killed…, and two films that capture the “twilit feeling of childhood.”, New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, New selected-scene commentary featuring film scholar Daniel Bird, New video introduction by Anton Klimov, son of director Larisa Shepitko and filmmaker Elem Klimov, New interview with actor Lyudmila Polyakova, Two documentaries from 2012 about Shepitko’s life, work, and relationship with Klimov, Program from 1999 featuring an interview with Shepitko. For example, in one long scene, the partisans are running away with difficulty through the thick snow from their pursuers. [5] Boris Plotnikov, a 25-year-old actor of the Sverdlovsk Theater, turned out to be the best candidate for the role according to the director, but the officials of Goskino saw in Shepitko's plan the intention to put Jesus on to the Soviet screen. The production designer Yuriy Raksha later spoke about the situation as follows: We started to work and began our unique existence along with the characters. Long before The Ascent, Shepitko became ill with hepatitis on the set of the movie Heat. When they just started dating, Klimov came up with the name for Shepitko's thesis film – Heat. The authors "returned" the belt to Rybak but he was deprived of the ability to hang himself; implying that even death refuses a traitor. Shepitko urged him to start work immediately and a single telephone conversation with her convinced him to drop everything he was doing. The Ascent. As the reviewer above notes, the Ascent deserves to be remembered among the very best films to … Find trailers, reviews, synopsis, awards and cast information for The Ascent (1976) - Larisa Shepitko on AllMovie - The award-winning young director of this unusual… 296 notes. Dying, suffering Sotnikov wins because he is strong in spirit. The Ascent, a 1977 Soviet film set in World War II; Kodiyettam (Ascent), 1977 Indian film written and directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan [2] It was also selected as the Soviet entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 50th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[3]. The Ascent (Russian: Восхождение, tr. The film brought her international acclaim and she served as a member of the jury at … We had a lot of fun producing this episode, and we hope you guys dug it. — The Ascent (Larisa Shepitko, 1977) 1.5M ratings 277k ratings See, that’s what the app is perfect for. Her bright career as a director only lasted a single decade, ended abruptly by a tragic car accident. But Shepitko still rose two to three hours before the crew to have time to prepare, after which she worked to the maximum limit of her strength throughout the day. In the darkest days of World War II, two partisans set out for supplies to sustain their beleaguered outfit, braving the blizzard-swept landscape of Nazi-occupied Belarus. The realization of what was subsequently necessary came to her suddenly while she was recuperating at a Sochi sanatorium, but her creative plans were undermined by a disastrous fall, which resulted in a serious concussion and a spinal injury. Rybak accepts Portnov's offer and the Germans let him join the police. [5] Together with this, the filming process was planned in such a way that the actors started with the easiest acting in the psychological sense, and scenes which allowed them to gradually sink into their characters. the director came over to him to warm him up and to thank him. I could not find any other material with which I could transmit my views on life, on the meaning of life. The policeman tells him that their commander wants him and leaves him alone in the courtyard. After taking a farm animal from the collaborationist headman (Sergei Yakovlev), they head back to their unit, but are spotted by a German patrol. The two men and a sobbing Demchikha are taken to the German headquarters. She was affected much more by the script than by the novel and the day she met Shepitko, she went to the meet the Minister of Cinematography Philippe Ermash. Introduction. Ben Wheatley is the director of Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field in England. With stark, visceral cinematography that pits blinding white snow against pitch-black despair, The Ascent finds poetry and transcendence in the harrowing trials of war. Publications. [16], German poster - (left to right) Rybak, the village headman, Sotnikov, Basya, Demchikha, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, sfn error: no target: CITEREFКлимов1987 (, List of submissions to the 50th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, List of Soviet submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Ascent_(film)&oldid=995957339, Articles containing Russian-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 December 2020, at 19:46. 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