Larisa (1980) Movie Script

The film director Larissa Shepitko
died at the 187th kilometer
of the Leningradsky Highway
in a car accident.
She died together
with her colleagues:
the cinematographer Volodya Chukhnov,
the production designer Yura Fomenko
and three more members
of the filming crew.
They just began
shooting a film
based on Valentin Rasputin's book,
"Farewell to Matyora".
Larissa had been dreaming of this work,
as though preparing herself for it
all her life.
And that film was going
to become the climax
of her creative career.
Larissa Yefimovna had chosen me
to play the part of Darya
in her last film,
To me, meeting her
was like a miracle.
And I'm certainly happy
to have been so close
to that miracle.
Darya, what's the matter?
What will happen to us? What?
Where am I going from you? Why?
I pity Yegor so much.
Guilt without guilt is guilt, too.
That's why it's hard for me
to speak about Larissa.
Work on my novella
"Farewell to Matyora"
proved, as you know, for Larissa and
her friends to be their last work.
I remember the first time
Larissa called me
during one of my visits to Moscow,
and tentatively told me
that she would like to film "Matyora".
I went to meet her,
having two goals in mind.
First, to have a look at
the film director Larissa Shepitko,
who had just amazed me
with her film "Ascent".
And, second, to try not
to give "Matyora" to be filmed.
I wanted to keep my novella
in its generic
genre of prose.
But Larissa managed
to convince me pretty soon.
She began telling me
how she saw her future film.
She spoke so enthusiastically,
she seemed so interested
that I forgot about
not wanting to give "Matyora" away.
It was her ardor,
enthusiasm and selflessness,
even at the starting stage
of work on the film,
that amazed me then.
I was persuaded by our spiritual
which I had
never doubted since.
I was persuaded by her creative,
not formal,
artistic reading of the book.
That's how we reached our agreement.
And then
the work on the film began.
That's how the spirit of the flooded
Matyora had been raised,
if we use
the language of mysticism,
the spirit of Matyora, which,
not understanding
why, for what purpose
it had been disturbed,
then took from us
a too great
and irreplaceable sacrifice.
Mitya, are you all right?
"Wings" is a film about people
scorched by the war,
about the never-to-be-healed
wounds of memory,
about the insufferableness
of wingless existence.
I want to make a declaration of love.
Love is the only thing
that never dies.
As there is no death.
Perhaps for the first time
in my life I realized that...
that if a person is talented,
that person is immortal.
And to my last day
I'll be proud of the fact
that I acted
in Larissa Shepitko's films.
Remember how it was in
"The Great Waltz"?
I'm giving you my word
that there's nothing, there's no
frame in my film,
not a single one, that doesn't
come from me as a woman.
I've never engaged in copycatting,
never tried
to imitate men,
because I know very well that
all the efforts of my girlfriends,
both older and younger than me,
to imitate men's cinema
were just nonsensical,
because all this is secondary.
But I make a distinction
between ladies, and men's cinema.
There's no women's and men's cinema.
There's ladies, cinema and there's
men's cinema.
Men, too, can do
perfectly well
the ladies,
sentimental needlework.
But a woman, as one half
of the humankind origin,
can tell the world, reveal to the world
some amazing things.
No man can
so intuitively discern
some phenomena
in human psyche, in nature
as a woman can.
After "Wings" Larissa made
"You and I" to a script
by Gennady Shpalikov.
In that film
Larissa came close to the central
theme of her creative work,
the theme of merciless
judgment of yourself,
the high responsibility
each of us has
for everything we've done in life.
I was 16
when we held a family counsel.
I was finishing school.
It turned out that Larissa
could write a little,
compose poems, draw and sing.
Could do a bit of everything.
And none of those abilities
was so definite
for me to have
the nerve to apply
to an art school
or a literature institute.
And a friend of ours said
that there's a profession
in which all those little bits
might be very useful.
What's this profession?
Film directing.
I was a typical embryo.
It seems that Dovzhenko,
our master, decided
to trace by me the evolution of
Unfortunately, my universities
under his guidance
were very short-lived.
He died 18 months later.
In his person, we came across
the greatest humanist.
I guess such people lived
in the age of Renaissance.
But most important, he was
an absolutely uncompromising person.
You know, to have
lived all his 60 years
in accord with his conscience,
not to waive in anything,
never to go against any
of his moral postulates,
always to tell people
the truth straight to the face,
it was extremely difficult.
It goes without saying that there was
no place for any falsity,
mercenariness or hackwork.
I don't know how I could
look him in the eye now.
When I myself became
an independent person,
I came to know how difficult it is
to follow his behests in life.
To declare them is one thing.
But how can one live so each day?
Every day, every
second prompts us
to a practical necessity
to make a compromise,
to maneuver, keep silent sometimes,
make a concession,
in the hope of making up for it later.
It seems to be
what's called life flexibility.
It demands, it forces us.
It's not only us who do it, actually.
But it turns out
that if we think
we can be cunning just for 5 seconds
but make up for it later,
in art, it brings punishment,
a most cruel
and irreversible punishment.
You can't make a film
today just for money.
Well, I'll make
this passing movie,
I'll give in here,
I'll say what they want there,
I'll try to please them here
and avoid saying it there,
here I'll tell only a half-truth,
there I'll hush it up altogether,
but in my next film
I'll make up for it,
I'll tell everything I want,
in full measure,
as a creative person should,
as an artist, as a citizen,
I'll tell it all.
It's a lie.
It's impossible.
It's hopeless to deceive
yourself by this illusion.
If you stumbled once,
you'll never get back
on the path of truth,
you'll forget the way there.
You can't step twice
into the same river.
Larissa was born
just before the war
and, with her family, had gone through
all the hardships of the time -
air raids, hunger,
work unfit for a child.
Those impressions can never be
forgotten, they're burning you
and remain with you forever.
I think it was then
that an invisible bud sprouted,
the bud of the future work
that came many years later,
the ultimate achievement
of the director Larissa Shepitko,
her film "Ascent".
If your life had been enriched
with care for another person,
then you have already
justified your existence.
This is evidence
of the spiritual life of a person.
These riches belong not to you
personally, but to the public,
if you live by the life of other people.
There're things
that are sacred to all of us.
There're well-defined
notions of good and evil,
of our morals.
There're such everlasting qualities
as love for your homeland.
What is this?
What are we born
into this world for?
What will we contribute to this world?
How can we make life better?
In the final analysis,
my possibilities as a person.
Your possibilities.
You're watching the very last
shot made by Larissa.
An eternal tree,
the symbol of indestructibility
and dignity,
the symbol of faith
in the endless continuation
of what we call "life".
Working on the film:
E. Klimov
Yu. Skhirtladze
A. Rodionov
V. Petrov
A. Schnittke
E. Klass
B. Vengerovsky
et al.
Commenting on Larissa Shepitko:
film director
E. Klimov
V. Rasputin