Legendary Russian filmmaker dead at 80

Marina Goldovskaya, a legendary filmmaker whose work during the collapse of the Soviet Union was met with critical praise, died at the age of 80 on Sunday in Latvia.

Goldovskaya also examined Vladimir Putin’s regime in her work, most notably with a 2011 documentary about a murdered journalist critical of Putin and his government.

“Goldovskaya made nearly one hundred documentaries, many of which were intimate portraits of her subjects,” the Moscow Times reported.

“She is perhaps best known for her work during the late Soviet and early post-Soviet period that opened doors into the inner lives of people living in a time of great change.”

Goldovskaya’s father was one of the leading figures in the Soviet Union’s film industry, having founded the All-Russian State Institute for Cinematography. She graduated from the school in 1963; one of her first jobs was with Andrei Tarkovsky, director of films like “Solaris” and “Stalker.”

Her first documentary, “Valentina Tereshkova,” dealt with the first woman in space. She became known internationally for her award-winning 1989 documentary “Arkhangelsky Peasant,” which took as its subject the first private farmer in the Soviet Union.

That work won the USSR State Prize.

In the 1990s, Goldovskaya moved to the United States, eventually becoming a tenured professor at the UCLA School of Film and Television in Los Angeles.

In 2011, she released another landmark documentary work, “A Bitter Taste of Freedom,” which centered on the life (and 2006 murder) of journalist Anna Politskovskaya, who Goldovskaya was close to.

“[Politskovskaya’s] work was dangerous, and she knew she was risking her life. But her conscience didn’t allow her to stop working,” Goldovskaya said in an interview with the International Documentary Association.

“When Anna was killed, I knew I had to make a film about her. I wanted people to know what kind of a person she was and what a great woman our country had lost.

“I knew I had the footage of Anna that nobody else had. Many journalists filmed her when she was alive, but nobody filmed her as a woman, mother and friend. I knew my footage was unique.”

“She was vibrant and incredibly talented,” Russian filmmaker Vitaly Manski said in a statement on Facebook.

“She was a woman documentary filmmaker with a camera in her hand at a time when she was the exception to all the rules. She made her own rules, and she was always victorious.”