Category: Film

Soviet Film Wednesday: Jack Frost

Jack Frost, or Morozko as it is known in its original language, is a seminal 1964 film from the Soviet Union. Directed by the acclaimed Alexander Rou, the film stands as a testament to the rich history of Soviet cinema, replete with elements of fantasy and folklore. The film’s narrative revolves around the character of …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: The Night Before Christmas (1961)

In the vast landscape of cinema history, there are few films that encapsulate the bizarreness of a festivity like the 1961 film, The Night Before Christmas. Directed by the filmmaker Aleksandr Rou and inspired by Nikolai Gogol’s story “Christmas Eve”, this fantasy film is a unique blend of magic, love, and tradition. The Night Before …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: “Singing Cat” from Tale of the Fox

Here is a charming little song, “Singing Cat,” an excerpt from Ladislas Starevich’s first animated feature, and often regarded as his finest work, The Tale of the Fox (Le Roman de Renard), made with the help of his daughter Irene in 1941. Ladislas Starevich was born in Moscow on August 8, 1882 and moved to …

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Andrei Rublev: A Film that Redefined Cinema

Hailed as a magnum opus, Andrei Rublev is an emblematic film that has left a profound impact on cinema. This is a film not just to be watched, but to be experienced. Its hypnotic visuals, philosophical musings, and the exploration of the human condition are as mesmerizing as they are thought-provoking. The film, directed by …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Hedgehog in the Fog

Today we have another wonderful Yuri Norstein film, Hedgehog in the Fog.  Norstein is best known for this animation, as well as his Tale of Tales.  Hedgehog in the Fog was directed by Norstein, written by Sergei Kozlov, with music by Mikhail Meyerovich.  It was produced by Soyuzmultfilm in 1975. It is the story of a hedgehog and a bear cub who …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Night on Bald Mountain

Night on Bald Mountain is a film set to the music of the same name by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, and arranged by his fellow Russian composer, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  The film was created by the inventors of pinscreen animation, Alexandre Alexeieff and his collaborator Claire Parker. Alexeieff was born in Kazan, Russia in 1901 and died in …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Viy

Viy is a significant artifact in the history of cinema, particularly in the context of Soviet film. Released in 1967, it is widely regarded as the first horror movie produced by the Soviet film industry. The film is based on a horror novella by Nikolai Gogol, a renowned Russian-Ukrainian author whose work has been foundational …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Ivashka and Baba-Yaga

Last week we had an introduction to the Brumberg Sisters, and this week we have another great film by the duo, featuring one of the scariest characters of folklore, Baba-Yaga. While this fairy tale, and others, portray her as a child-hunting witch, there are some different renditions of Baba-Yaga. In Slavic folklore, Baba-Yaga is typically …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Little Red Riding Hood

Meet the Brumberg Sisters, Valentina and Zinaida Brumberg, both Moscow-born artists who worked together as animators, screenwriters, and directors, creating around 50 films in total. Made in 1937, this is their spooky animation of Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Perrault’s version was a cautionary message to children about stranger danger. Soviet Film …

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From Beauty and the Beast to Orpheus: The Cinematic Magic of Jean Cocteau

Step into the enchanting world of Jean Cocteau, a visionary filmmaker who effortlessly blended reality and fantasy on the silver screen. From his iconic adaptation of Beauty and the Beast to the mesmerizing journey of Orpheus, Cocteau’s cinematic magic continues to captivate audiences to this day. With his unique blend of poetic storytelling, stunning visuals, …

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