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 Larisa Shepitko

Born:   January 6, 1938
Deceased:   June 2, 1979

Soviet actress and film director


Larisa Efimovna Shepitko was born on January 6, 1938 in the Artemovsk town of the Donetsk Region of Ukraine. She graduated from the VGIK (the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography) having started acting in films, namely The Poem about the Sea, and An Ordinary Story. Larisa’s graduation work – the feature film Heat after Chingiz Aitmatov’s story Camel Eye - was shot in Kyrgyzstan and won a debut prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1964.  The premiere of the film Wings directed by Larisa Shepitko gained her great popularity in 1966. This movie tells about the destiny of the pilot woman Natalia Petrukhina. Her following movie Electricity Homeland was included into the almanac Nachalo Nevedomogo Veka (Beginning of an Unknown Era) along with two other movies but censorship blocked its way to the screen.  

Afterwards Larisa made two color films – the musical New Year's fairy tale In the Thirteenth Hour of the Night (aka 13 PM) featuring a constellation of actors (Vladimir Basov, George Vitsin, Anatoly Papanov, Zinoviy Gerdt, Alexander Shirvindt, Spartak Mishulin) and the movie You and I (1971) about her generation of thirty-year-old contemporaries.
In 1974 Larisa Shepitko was conferred the rank of the Honored Artist of the RSFSR. 
Shepitko's most famous movie is Voskhozhdenie (aka The Ascent) (1976) based on the story Sotnikov by Vasyl Bykov.  It is a movie about war, about courage and treachery. Vladimir Gostyukhin and Boris Plotnikov played the leads.  This movie won the Grand Prize of the Riga Film Festival and the Golden Bear prize of the Western Berlin International Festival in 1977. 
Larisa Shepitko's life tragically closed, when she was only 41. Together with other film crew members she died in a road accident on the way to the Seliger Lake, where the movie Farewell to Matyora had been planned to be shot. It happened on June 2, 1979. The film shooting was completed by her husband of Elem Klimov. The movie was released in 1982 under the name Farewell.

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