Category: Soviet Era

Soviet Film Wednesday: Viy

In this 1967 film, a young seminarian stays the night in an old woman’s barn during his travels. During the night, the old woman casts a spell on him and flies on his back through the night. When they touch ground again, she suddenly turns into a young girl. Frightened, he runs away. Soon after, …

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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

Let me introduce you to The Brumberg Sisters, Valentina and Zinaida Brumberg, who worked together as animators, screenwriters, and directors, creating around 50 films in total. This is their spooky animation of Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, made in 1937. Perrault’s version was a cautionary message to children about stranger danger. Click …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Seasons

Seasons, made in 1969, is one of the most beloved Russian animations, directed by Yuri Norstein and Ivan Ivanov-Vano, with the music of Tchaikovsky. You can find this and four other animations by Norstein: The Battle of Kerzhenets, Fox and Rabbit, The Heron and the Crane, and Hedgehog in the Fog, all on DVD in Masters of …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Birthnight

In Birthnight, Night visits young Tima, a boy who sleeps with the light on because he is afraid of the dark, and she invites him to her nighttime birthday party in the woods. If the story doesn’t sound intriguing enough, the eccentric synth music of Eduard Artemyev is sure to transport you to another world, …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: War and Peace

In 1966-1967, writer and director Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace (Война и мир) was released in four parts; a seven-hour-plus long adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic novel depicting the lives of several aristocratic families during the time of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The stunningly beautiful film skillfully portrays personal stories amidst a political backdrop, and won …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: The Cow

I recently posted an introduction to the beautiful work of Aleksandr Petrov, who creates animations using pastel oil paintings on glass to create wonderful, unique frames of soft, muted colors. Here is one of his early works, The Cow (Корова, Korova), made in 1989. In the story, a boy remembers how his family lost their …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Lovers

Last week I shared Elyer Ishmukhamedov’s first film, Tenderness, and this week let’s ride that summer feeling again with another film by Ishmukhamedov, Lovers. Lovers (Влюбленные) is a 1969/1970 film that portrays a summer of friendships, drama, and romance in Uzbekistan. Ishmukhamedov has his own strange way of capturing the beauty of the season, especially in …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Tenderness

Full of the vibrant outdoors and romance, Tenderness (Нежность, Nezhnost) was director Elyer Ishmukhamedov’s first major film, made in 1966-1967, and set in summertime in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. At its release, the film won awards at the International Week Of Asian Film Festival in Frankfort and at the Locarno Film Festival. Tenderness was written by Odelsha Agishev …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Ballerina on the Boat

Ballerina on the Boat is a wonderful summer-y animation about a ballerina who takes a ride on a ship and dances about, practicing her moves at the delight and distraction of the crew. It is a lovely, humorous, and leisurely voyage until a storm comes, which leads to a surprise ending. There is no need …

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