Tales of Tales (Сказка сказок), also titled The Little Grey Wolf Will Come, was the first Soviet animation that I ever remember seeing, and for years I would return to this mysterious film, intermittently, in awe and wonder, taking in the magic and trying to piece together the different parts. Then I watched more Yuri Norstein films, as well as other Soviet animators, and eventually I became an admirer of the genre as a whole.
If you have a half hour of focus to devote to the film, it simply sets a different pace. I find that the leisurely picnic scene, shown at the opening and again towards the end of the film, with a slow pan set to Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue No. 8 in E-flat minor,” is especially enthralling.
Tale of Tales has been compared to Tarkovsky’s classic film, The Mirror, mainly because they are both are created around themes on memory. And as such, both works present pieces that are loosely strung together, as one is reminded of one thing, and then another, and so on.
The animation has several recurring symbols, particularly lovely golden green apples. In the very beginning, as well as in a later frame, Norstein focuses on raindrops falling on an apple in a dark wood, a mesmerizingly beautiful scene, and then the segment after starts with apples falling on a snowy winter day.
Perhaps the most famous Russian animation of all time, here is the 1979 masterpiece, Tale of Tales.
Tale of Tales was directed by Yuri Norstein (who also directed Hedgehog in the Fog and Seasons), written by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, and produced by Soyuzmultfilm studio.