A jilted husband takes his revenge by filming his wife and her lover and showing the result at the local cinema. This was one of Starewicz' first animated films, and stars very realistic ... See full summary »
An epic portrait of late Sixties America, as seen through the portrayal of two of its children: anthropology student Daria (who's helping a property developer build a village in the Los ... See full summary »
Inspired by fairy-tales such as Alice in Wonderland and Little Red-Riding Hood, "Valerie and her Week of Wonders" is a surreal tale in which love, fear, sex and religion merge into one fantastic world.
A reflection of Russian history and memory. Norstein creates a visual emotional response to a changing Russia, followed in the eyes of the Little Grey Wolf spying on various people's lives,... See full summary »
Speaking as a Norshteyn fan, I found 'The Battle of Kerzhenets (1971)' a collaboration with Ivan Ivanov-Vano to be a general disappointment. It had an interesting concept behind it, certainly, but possessed none of the emotional strength of 'Hedgehog in the Fog (1975)' or 'Tale of Tales (1979),' or even any of Norshteyn's lesser-known short films. The story is based on the folktale of the Invisible City of Kitezh, which is said to have disappeared beneath the waters of a lake to escape a Mongol attack. The film is accompanied by music from famous Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, which suits the story exceedingly well, and is animated using two-dimensional stop-motion of 14th-16th century Russian frescoes and paintings. This particular style of animation does have a certain charm about it, but, at the end of the day, there's little emotional energy to the images, because each painted figure their faces frozen in history are simply incapable of communicating any real emotion.
As I had absolutely no knowledge of the original legend, it was quite difficult for me to properly follow the story, which is entirely wordless. The high point of the film is certainly the climactic battle between the Russians and the Mongols, though every figure seems to be darting across the frame so quickly that you're unsure of who's killing who. The end of the film offers a refreshing dose of optimism, as, in the aftermath of the devastating bloodshed, the Russians slowly begin to reconstruct their tattered lives: homes and boats are rebuilt, crops are resown, the vibrancy of human life is maintained. Perhaps a healthier knowledge of Russian history and folklore was required to better enjoy this animated short film. In any case, Yuriy Norshteyn did get much better as his distinguished career progressed, and 'The Battle of Kerzhenets' can be viewed as another vital step towards enduring greatness.
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