Category: Soviet Era

Soviet Film Wednesday: Samoyed Boy

Made in 1928, Samoyed Boy was one of the first films directed by the Brumberg sisters, along with directors Nikolai Khodataev and Olga Chodatajewa. It is the story of a boy who fights corruption in his village, then goes on to study in Moscow. It may be best known for its innovative animation; the mesmerizing waves are stunning …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Russian Sugar Ad

Here’s a little treat for Wednesday: a jam ad created for Russian Sugar directed by Yuri Norstein. It was one of a group of Russian Sugar commercials made by Norstein between 1994 and 1995 that used cutouts and drawings for the animations (a bit past the Soviet era but still delightful and created by beloved …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Enchanted Desna

Enchanted Desna is a film that gives us insight into the mind of Aleksandr Dovzhenko as a child, growing up by the Desna river. Directed by Yuliya Solntseva, the film is an “autobiographical film story” by her husband, Aleksandr Dovzhenko. Both thought-provoking and beautiful, the film elicits memories and introspection from its viewers. For instance, …

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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

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.

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

Between 1966 and1967, 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 the political backdrop. Highly …

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