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Assia and the Hen with the Golden Eggs

Andrey Konchalovskiy
Kurochka Ryaba
Russia, France  1994 / 117’

After nearly 30 years, Andrey Konchalovskiy returns to the heroine of his film The Story of Assia Klyachina, Who Loved, But Did Not Marry (1966). In the 1990s, collective-farm worker Assia (Inna Churikova) sells eggs at the market and moonshine to her neighbors. She also shares her reflections on her country's young democracy and free market. She is no supporter of these changes, arguing that "democracy is good, as is order," and "it is impossible to live without fear." In the era of Russia's political transformation, those who were disappointed by the reforms continue to live according to the old ways, reaching the conclusion that nothing has changed in the Russian provinces, and certainly not for the better. Will a golden egg that Assia finds in her barn change their fate? Assia and the Hen with the Golden Eggs was the first film that Konchalovskiy made in his homeland after years spent in the United States. Shown at the Cannes festival, itcaptures the atmosphere of the Yeltsin era in Russia, when residents, unable to find a place for themselves in a system devoured by corruption and anarchy, devoid of everything they were familiar with, yearn for governance and order even if that means a return to the communist ways.

Adam Kruk

Andrey Konchalovskiy

Andrey Konchalovskiy is a Russian director, screenwriter, and producer. A would-be pianist, he spent his youth practicing his scales at the prestigious Moscow Conservatory, though that was back in the 1960s. Like his brother, Nikita Mikhalkov, he decided to become a filmmaker instead. During his studies in Mikhail Romm's studio at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, he met Andrei Tarkovsky, and would later work as a screenwriter on his films The Steamroller and the Violin (1960), Ivan's Childhood (1962), and Andrei Rublev (1966). He made his directorial debut with The First Teacher (1965), an adaptation of a novel by Chinghiz Aitmatov. This marked the beginning of his long flirtation with the Russian classics: he also adapted works by Turgenev (Home of the Gentry) and Chekhov (Uncle Vanya). After making the epic Siberiade (1978), which was very well received in Cannes, he decided to stay in the West, where he worked with Max von Sydow, Glenn Close, Nastassja Kinski, Whoopie Goldberg, and Sylvester Stallone. He returned to Russia in the early 1990s, and the films that he has made there, which are deeply embedded in the local context, have brought him recognition at festivals in Berlin (The Inner Circle), Cannes (Assia and the Hen with the Golden Eggs), and Venice (House of FoolsThe Postman's White Nights).

Selected filmography

1966 Historia Asi Klaczinej, która kochała, ale za mąż nie wyszła / Istoriya Asi Klyachinoy, kotoraya lyubila, da ne vyshla zamuzh / The Story of Asya Klyachina, Who Loved, But Did Not Marry

1974 Romanca o zakochanych / Romans o vlyublyonnykh / A Lover's Romance

1978 Syberiada / Sibiriada / Siberiade

1985 Uciekający pociąg / Runaway Train

1989 Tango i Cash / Tango & Cash

1994 Kurka Riaba / Kurochka Ryaba / Ryaba My Chicken

2002 Dom wariatów / Dom durakov / House of Fools

2014 Białe noce listonosza Aleksieja Triapicyna / Belye nochi pochtalona Alekseya Tryapitsyna / The Postman's White Nights

Cast & Crew

director Andrey Konchalovskiy
screenplay Andrey Konchalovskiy, Viktor Merezhko
cinematography Evgeniy Guslinskiy
editing Yelena Gagarina
music Boris Basurov
cast Inna Churikova, Viktor Mikhaylov, Aleksandr Surin, Gennadiy Nazarov
producer Andrey Konchalovskiy, Jacky Ouaknine, Chris Bolzli, Sergei Bayev
production AO Logovaz, ARK-Film, Canal+, Roskomkino
sales Tamasa Distribution
language Russian
colouration colour