Asanova, Dinara (1942–1985)

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Asanova, Dinara (1942–1985)

Soviet filmmaker. Born in Kirghizia, one of the 15 republics of the USSR, located in central Asia, in 1942; died in April 1985; attended VGIK (All-union State Institute of Cinematography).


Rudolfino (1970); Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches (Ne bolit golova u diatla, 1975); The Restricted Key (Kliunch bez prava peredachi, 1977); Misfortune (Beda, 1978); My Wife Has Left (Zhena ushla, 1980); Good-for-Nothing (Nikudyshnaia, 1980); Which Would You Choose? (Chto ty vybral?, 1981); Tough Kids (Patsany, 1983); Dear, Dear, Dearest Beloved (Mily, dorogoi, liubimyi, edinstvennyi, 1984); and, unfinished, The Stranger (Neznakomka, 1985).

Dinara Asanova began her film career in her national studio, Kirgizfilm, before becoming one of the few non-Russians to be accepted into the prestigious VGIK (All-union State Institute of Cinematography), the former Soviet Union's premiere film school. During her brief career, Asanova made nine feature films that were so critically and financially successful, she must be considered one of the most notable Soviet directors of her time.

Asanova's films often deal with the dark side of the adolescent coming of age: the teenage protagonist is filled with a sense of existential anxiety because the world of adults is insensitive and uncaring. With an interest in the documentary tradition, Asanova often cast non-professionals to play her leads. One of her most important films, Tough Kids (Patsany, 1983), is based on episodes from the lives of male teenagers doing time in a juvenile detention center. Her research for this film was also edited into a documentary and aired on television.

Her films neither glorify heroes nor condemn villains. Rather, they are critical of a social system that seems to ignore contemporary problems, especially problems of young people. Strangely, though Asanova's social criticism was often harsh, she apparently never roused the ire of the Soviet censors. In 1985, while shooting her tenth film called The Stranger, Asanova died of a heart attack. She was 43.


Atwood, Lynne. Red Women on the Silver Screen. London: Pandora Press, 1993.

Kuhn, Annette, with Susannah Radstone. The Women's Companion to International Film. London: Virago Press, 1990.

Lawton, Anna. Toward A New Openness in Soviet Cinema: 1976–1987. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989.

Deborah Jones , freelance writer, Studio City, California

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