Category: Soviet Era

Soviet Film Wednesday: The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas (1951) was directed by the prolific Soviet animation duo of Valentina Brumberg and Zinaida Brumberg, who were also known as the “Brumberg sisters” as well as the “grandmothers of Russian animation.” Some of their most well known films are Little Red Riding Hood and Ivashka and Baba-Yaga. Not your typical Christmas story, it begins …

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Soviet Film Wednesday: Alexandr Petrov’s Coca Cola Sundblom Santa

To celebrate the season, here’s a vintage style Christmas Coca Cola ad by the Academy Award-winning, Soviet born animator Aleksandr Petrov. The commercial was created in 2001, and was based on Haddon Sundblom’s jolly Santa illustrations, which first debuted in 1931 Coke ads.

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

Here is a charming excerpt, “Singing Cat,” 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 his daughter Irene in 1941. Ladislas Starevich was born in Moscow on August 8, 1882 and moved to France following the Russian Revolution. He …

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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

This is 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 …

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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. Click …

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