Olya steps through the mirror into the Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors where Yalo resides. The kingdom, under the rule of King Yagupop LXXVII (reverse of Popugay, meaning parrot) produces ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Olga Yukina ...
Olya (as Olya Yukina)
Tatyana Yukina ...
Yalo (as Tanya Yukina)
Tatyana Barysheva ...
Anatoli Kubatsky ...
Jagupop 77
Andrey Fayt ...
Lidiya Vertinskaya ...
Anidag (as L. Vertinskaya)
Arkadi Tsinman ...
Andrei Stapran ...
Ivan Kuznetsov ...
(as I. Kuznetsov)
Georgiy Millyar
Pavel Pavlenko ...
Tamara Nosova ...
Aunt Aksal
Vera Altayskaya ...
Aleksandr Khvylya
Valentin Bryleev


Olya steps through the mirror into the Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors where Yalo resides. The kingdom, under the rule of King Yagupop LXXVII (reverse of Popugay, meaning parrot) produces crooked mirrors that brainwash its people through subtle changes in reality. Written by soniavilkele

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Fantasy


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Release Date:

28 August 1963 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

28 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A very knowledgeable online acquaintance recommended this film two years ago. A friend immediately watched it and has been, for the past two years, trying to convince me to watch it, as well.

Receiving a seal of enthusiastic approval from two opinions I value and trust, it's something of an enigma as to why I've been so hesitant to watch the film. Especially when one considers my love for surrealism and general weirdness. Considering some of the films I've seen in the past two years and in doing so put ahead in priority over Kingdom… (Hostel? Intolerable Cruelty?), it's downright disgusting of me. But I've looked at myself in the mirror, as Grandma asks at the end of this precious Russian gem, and decided to break my bad habits.

I loved this film. As soon as it was over {unfortunately after only around 70 minutes} I excitedly started this article and was ready to learn about the film. Unfortunately, things don't always go the way you'd like.

There is sadly little discussion or evaluation of this strange Russian family film on the internet and the DVD itself offers only one special feature of note: a 5 minute talk by an actor in the film (Andrei Stapran) who spends 4 minutes bragging about the films he himself made {none of which are on IMDb, unfortunately} and the other minute making general statements like "Aleksandr Rou was a marvelous director!" No kidding.

So I'm alone on this one and, as a freshmen in the high school of serious film consideration and criticism, I can only offer small observations of a questionable nature. But even Ebert has had to retract statements he made about films in his foolish youth. Such is life, they say.

Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors bears unavoidable similarities to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; a little girl suddenly finds herself in a strange world with ruthless royalty who aren't shy when it comes to executions. There's also a cat, but it functions more like Alice's cat Dinah than the Cheshire Cat.

And though it may be due to the fact I saw a theatre screening of it just two days before watching this, Kingdom… also seems to bear resemblance to Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz. While Kingdom… lacks the production values of Hollywood's masterpiece of surreal family entertainment, it's as creative in concepts and the limitations in set and costume design only stamp it with the strange and unexplainable vibes I get when watching the films of Jan Svankmajer, as well as my only experience with Jaromil Jires {Valerie and Her Week of Wonders…which is likely the kind of film that children raised on this will turn to when they are adults.} Interestingly, watching the film today, even the most politically apathetic persons {like myself} can't help but notice how much it functions like a criticism of the fella in charge. Well, you be the judge: the king in the kingdom of crooked mirrors is incredibly stupid and everyone in the kingdom knows it. He's also not really in charge – he does what the rich citizens of the kingdom tell him to do. Yeah.

That is one of the reasons I was excited in researching this film; to uncover some knowledge of the Russian leadership at the time; a figure who, I had to assume, was like the George W. Bush of his time – being the butt of a seemingly never-ending line of jokes about his intellectual shortcomings by the Jay Lenos and Saturday Night Lives of the time.

Unfortunately, I uncovered nothing. Perhaps it is all the better. I've never been impressed by Bush jokes (presidents are too easy a target for interchangeable jokes, be it about sex or stupidity). So to uncover that King Torrap {parrot spelled backwards…because this is a world of mirrors} is, in fact, a direct criticism of one person instead of a more universal questioning of anyone in charge or – what the hell – just an opportunity to have a farcical character with a parrot-esquire beak for a nose would have only let me down, ultimately.

I should also point out his cowering when facing mean-faced people he fears reminded me of the king of Wonderland in the Disney production, who seems terrified of his wife, who indeed wears the pants in that kingdom.

But to get to a more typical plot breakdown of the film (finally, you say), a little girl named Olya returning from peaking into a film which children under 16 are not allowed to see comes home to her grandma, realizing she has lost the key to their flat. The grandma scorns her carelessness and sets out to fetch her a replacement key. Meanwhile, Olya breaks into the jam cabinet and splits a jar with her cat while her overlooking parrot threatens to tell on her unless she shares the goods – which she does not do.

When she accidentally drops the jar, the mirror in her house begins to talk to her (perhaps this was grandma's special jar of jam with a few extra ingredients…), and she follows her cat into the mirror where she meets her reflection Aylo.

From there, the two embark on a strange journey after witnessing a youth being sent to the aptly named Death Tower for rebelling and making straight mirrors so that people can see the truth instead of being fooled into believing the lies of the crooked mirrors he has been enslaved to make (which make the old look young and vice versa).

They encounter several strange characters with names like Daot (toad spelled backwards; the character himself looks like a toad) and so on as they attempt to free their friend (named Dneirf, of course!) As Watson Pritchard at Something Weird Video put it, this film "…at times (resembles) a live-action cartoon from hell." That simple statement couldn't be truer.

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