The Asthenic Syndrome
Stanislav Menzelevskyi, a film scholar and curator, is head of the Research Department of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center and currently a Fulbright visiting scholar at UC Berkeley.
Sergei Popov, Olga Antonova, Natalia Busko, Galina Sakurdaeva,
Legendary director Kira Muratova’s demented chronicle of the constant absurdities and insults of Soviet life in the eighties takes its title and its cues from a psychological condition that alternates between maniacal aggression and apathetic inaction. Fittingly split into two parts, this Ukrainian “post-glasnost film to end all post-glasnost films” (Derek Malcolm) may concern a possibly grieving widow or a possibly insane professor, but it’s the mood of impending collapse and seething madness that matters, not the narrative. “A movie that breaks all the rules when it comes to telling a story and clearly distinguishing between fiction and documentary, fantasy and reality, anger and detachment” (Jonathan Rosenbaum).