Syndrome Asthenique (film)

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Date: 1989

Region: Russia and Central Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Film Video


Artist: Kira Muratova

Confronting Bodies: Goskino

Dates of Action: November 1989

Location: Moscow, Soviet Union

Description of Artwork: Syndrome Asthenique is the story of a man who doesn't have the strength to face problems. He falls asleep as soon as life becomes too difficult. The film also shows a woman whose husband has just died; she begins to despise the human race, slowly going insane with hate and despair.

The Incident: Goskino refused the film's distribution because ten minutes of dialogue are in "mat," a local slang that uses extremely coarse expressions. The Union of Filmmakers mobilized itself immediately by multiplying private screenings. Andre Smirnov organized a debate/press conference on the 18th of November, with jurists, teachers and intellectuals. Everybody agreed on the violence of the scene; the question was to determine whether it justified the censorship. The legal gap is dramatic, its application to the film was difficult considering the law that forbids any form of pornography.

Results of Incident: The Union of Filmmakers obtained the exploitation certificate and right to distribute the film.

Source: Cahiers du Cinema, No 426, Dec. 1989