The Story Of Asya Klyachina, Who Loved But Did Not Marry

[История Аси Клячиной, которая любила, да не вышла замуж]

(1966) USSR

Directed by Andrei Konchalovskii

Directed by Andrei Konchalovskii. Written by Iurii Klepikov. Cinematography by Georgii Rerberg. Art direction by Mikhail Romadin. With Iia Savvina, Gennadii Egorychev, Ivan Petrov, Liubov' Sokolova, Aleksandr Surin, Liudmila Zaitseva.

In Russian with English subtitles

This early film is still considered by many to be among this long-lived and fruitful director's most significant work. Konchalovskii used nonprofessional actors for all but the two lead roles in the film. This, coupled with the documentary style of shooting, gives this black-and-white film an aura of authenticity and honesty that a more polished work would be unable to reproduce. In this respect, the film is emblematic for the spirit of the times. The title character in the film is a simple, uncomplicated young woman who comes to make very complicated decisions concerning the most basic questions of human relationships and personal desire. The actress succeeds in conveying that kind of spiritual beauty that is so often portrayed in physically unimposing women in Russian cinema. But this portrait in sincerity promised to do much more than give Soviet audiences a new kind of heroine. By depicting the collective farm milieu so simply and directly, Konchalovskii intruded upon one of the most mythologized chronotopes of Soviet culture-the Soviet rural idyll. Too many of the orthodox topoi of Soviet village life are missing for the message of the film to be regarded as innocuous by the cultural authorities. The film was delayed for several years and released only in a heavily censored version in 1971. The final release of the film in 1987 constituted a major new credit to the filmography of a director who by this time had achieved commercial success in the very different milieu of Hollywood.

Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovskii was born in Moscow in 1937. His early studies throughout the 1950s were devoted to music at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1965 he completed his course of studies in film directing at the All-Union State Filmmaking Institute, where he worked with Mikhail Romm. He has appeared as an actor in such films as My Name Is Ivan and Lenin's Guard, and co-wrote the screenplay for Tarkovsky's masterpiece Andrei Rublev. His diploma film, The First Teacher, was quickly followed by his famous Story of Asya Klyachina, which was released in a strongly censored version in 1971. Despite official disapproval of that film, he continued a successful directing career in the Soviet Union and, in the 1980s, in the United States. His most recent films have been international joint productions.

Selected Director Filmography:
1965First Teacher (USSR)
1966The Story of Asya Klyachina, Who Loved but Did Not Marry (USSR)
1969A Nest of Gentlefolk (USSR)
1974A Lover's Romance (USSR)
1979Siberiade (USSR)
1984Maria's Lovers (USA)
1985Runaway Train (USA)
1987Shy People (USA)
1989Homer & Eddie (USA)
1989Tango & Cash (USA)
1992The Inner Circle (Italy/Russia/USA)
1994Ryaba My Chicken (France/Russia)
2000The Royal Way (Russia/France)