An apprentice stone sculptor risks his life, soul & marriage to learn the secrets of his trade from a mountain witch.
This faux (?) folktale, probably the best known film of Soviet fabulist Aleksandr Ptushko, is a paean to artistic individuality: a daydreaming youth becomes protégé to an old stone carver; visits the secret cave of a mountain witch to delve into his art; and then, with the unwavering trust of his deserted bride, finds his way back into the world as absolute master of his craft. A rather non-collective idea to find in the Stalinist film world of the time. Ptushko's style often looks like some over-decorated/Russian-themed Christmas window, but it certainly fits his subject. The crudity in the technique comes off as sincerity and the USSR color processing of the era is often quite lovely if you boost the brightness level on your equipment. Aimed at kids, but probably best for grown up cultural Sovietologists.
NOTE: Check out the DVD extras for an amazing stop-motion animation clip from Ptsuhko's 1936 pic THE NEW GULLIVER.
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