The Asthenic Syndrome / Astenichnyi syndrom




Ukrainian SSR


Odesa Film Studio


156 min


Kira Muratova


Aleksandr Chernykh, Kira Muratova, Serhii Popov


Viktor Kabachenko, Volodymyr Pankov


Olga Antonova, Serhii Popov, Galina Zakhurdaeva, Natalia Buzko, Oleksandra Svenska, Pavlo Polishchuk, Natalia Ralleva, Halyna Kasperovych, Viktor Aristov, Nikolai Semonov, Oleh Shkolnik

A depressed woman has just lost her husband and is about to destroy everything and everybody, but mainly herself. An exhausted man tries to find an escape from the daily chaos and routine in perpetual sleep. No, their paths don’t cross, but each of them is destined to survive.
This has been called ‘a magnificent fresco’, an ‘apocalypse’ (Silver Bear, Berlin 1990). But it proved to be a diagnosis of an era.
Muratova captured the state of Russia and Eastern Europe in images that are typical of an era on the eve of revolution, full of aggression and apathy.The Asthenic Syndrome is constructed like The Well-Tempered Clavier, full of polyphonous elements.
The first part is in black-and-white and is a film within a film, nervously shot like Muratova’s first films. The second part is in colour and tells the story of the life of an insignificant author and literature teacher who suffocates in the dull routine of his mindless environment.
Muratova’s realism is full of contrasts, irony and rage and shows every character from different sides. She presents a complete picture of personal syndromes and collective apathy, meanwhile stunning the viewer with shock therapy and destroying every illusion.